Tag Archives: USA

Los Angeles

Dari Wikipedia bahasa Indonesia, ensiklopedia bebas

Los Angeles (i/lɒs ˈændʒələs/ loss-an-jə-ləs; bahasa Spanyol: [los ˈaŋxeles], ditulis Los Ángeles; pengucapan Britania /lɒs ˈændʒəliːz/ loss-an-jə-leez) dengan jumlah penduduk sebanyak 3.792.621 jiwa sesuai Sensus Amerika Serikat 2010, adalah kota terpadat di negara bagian California, dan kota terpadat kedua di Amerika Serikat, setelah New York City. Luasnya mencapai 468,67 mil persegi (1213,8 km2), dan terletak di California Selatan. Terkenal dengan inisial L.A.-nya, kota ini merupakan titik utama wilayah statistik metropolitan Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana dan region Wilayah Los Angeles Raya, yang dihuni 12.828.837 dan hampir 18 juta jiwa pada tahun 2010, menjadikannya salah satu wilayah metropolitan terpadat di dunia[6] dan yang terbesar kedua di Amerika Serikat. Los Angeles juga merupakan ibu kota County Los Angeles, salah satu county terpadat dan paling beragam etnisnya[8] di Amerika Serikat, sementara seluruh wilayah Los Angeles sendiri diakui sebagai kota besar yang paling beragam di negara ini. Penduduk kota Los Angeles disebut “Angelenos”.

Los Angeles didirikan tanggal 4 September 1781 oleh gubernur Spanyol Felipe de Neve.  Kota ini menjadi bagian dari Meksiko pada tahun 1821 setelah Perang Kemerdekaan Meksiko.  Tahun 1848, pada akhir Perang Meksiko-Amerika Serikat, Los Angeles dan seluruh California dibeli sebagai bagian dari Traktat Guadalupe Hidalgo, sehingga menjadi bagian dari Amerika Serikat.  Los Angeles disatukan menjadi munisipalitas pada tanggal 4 April 1850, lima bulan sebelum California mendapat status negara bagian. 

Dijuluki City of Angels, Los Angeles adalah pusat dunia bisnis, perdagangan internasional, hiburan, budaya, media, mode, ilmu pengetahuan, olahraga, teknologi, dan pendidikan terdepan, serta merupakan kota terkaya ketiga di dunia dan kota paling kuat dan berpengaruh kelima di dunia. Kota ini adalah tempat berdirinya berbagai institusi yang mencakup berbagai bidang profesional dan budaya dan merupakan salah satu mesin ekonomi terpenting di Amerika Serikat. Wilayah statistik gabungan (CSA) Los Angeles memiliki produk metropolitan bruto (PMB) senilai $831 miliar (tahun 2008), menjadikannya pusat ekonomi terbesar ketiga di dunia, setelah wilayah metropolitan Tokyo Raya dan New York.  Sebagai basis Hollywood, kota ini dijuluki “Ibu Kota Hiburan Dunia”, yang memimpin pembuatan produksi televisi, permainan video, dan musik rekaman kelas dunia. Bisnis hiburan di kota ini mendorong banyak selebriti menetap di Los Angeles dan pinggiran kotanya. Selain itu, Los Angeles pernah menyelenggarakan Olimpiade Musim Panas tahun 1932 dan 1984.

Sejarah

Kawasan pesisir Los Angeles pertama dihuni oleh suku Pribumi Amerika Tongva (atau Gabrieleños) dan Chumash ribuan tahun yang lalu. Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, seorang penjelajah kelahiran Portugal, mengklaim wilayah California Selatan sebagai bagian dari Kekaisaran Spanyol pada tahun 1542.  Gaspar de Portolà dan misionaris Fransiskan Juan Crespí, berhasil mencapai daerah yang saat ini merupakan Los Angeles pada tanggal 2 Agustus 1769. 

Pada tahun 1771, biarawan Fransiskan Junípero Serra memimpin pembangunan Mission San Gabriel Arcangel, misi pertama di daerah ini. Pada tanggal 4 September 1781, empat puluh empat pendatang yang dijuluki “Los Pobladores” mendirikan sebuah pueblo bernama “La Reyna de los Angeles”, yang diberi nama untuk Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles del Río de Porciúncula (Our Lady the Queen of the Angels of the Porciúncula River). Dua per tiga pendatang adalah mestizo atau mulatto dengan keturunan Afrika, Amerindian, dan Eropa. Permukiman tersebut tetap menjadi kota ranca kecil selama beberapa dasawarsa, tetapi pada tahun 1820, populasinya bertambah hingga 650 jiwa. Hari ini, pueblo tersebut diabadikan di distrik bersejarah Los Angeles Pueblo Plaza dan Olvera Street, kawasan tertua di Los Angeles.

Spanyol Baru merdeka dari Kekaisaran Spanyol pada tahun 1821, dan pueblo ini masih menjadi bagian dari Meksiko. Selama masa kekuasaan Meksiko, Gubernur Pío Pico menjadikan Los Angeles ibu kota regional Alta California. Kekuasaan Meksiko berakhir pada Perang Meksiko-Amerika Serikat: Amerika Serikat merebut kota ini dari Californios setelah serangkaian pertempuran yang berujung pada penandatanganan Traktat Cahuenga pada tanggal 13 Januari 1847. 

Plaza kota lama, 1869

Rel kereta api datang seiring rampungnya jalur Southern Pacific menuju Los Angeles pada tahun 1876. Minyak ditemukan tahun 1892, dan pada 1923, penemuan tersebut membantu California menjadi produsen minyak terbesar di Amerika Serikat dengan pangsa sekitar seperempat produksi minyak dunia.

Los Angeles City Hall, tahun 1931, dibangun pada tahun 1928 dan merupakan struktur tertinggi di kota ini sampai tahun 1964 ketika batas ketinggian ditiadakan.

Pada tahun 1900, populasinya tumbuh hingga lebih dari 102.000 jiwa, sehingga membebani persediaan air kota.  Rampungnya pembangunan Los Angeles Aqueduct tahun 1913, di bawah arahan William Mulholland, menjamin pertumbuhan kota secara terus menerus. 

Pada tahun 1910, tidak cuma Los Angeles menganeksasi Hollywood, tetapi di kota ini sudah ada 10 perusahaan film yang beroperasi. Pada tahun 1921, lebih dari 80 persen industri film dunia terkonsentrasi di L.A. ] Uang yang dihasilkan industri ini melindungi kota dari guncangan ekonomi yang menyebar di seluruh Amerika Serikat selama Depresi Besar.  Pada tahun 1930, populasinya melewati angka satu juta jiwa. Pada tahun 1932, kota ini mengadakan Olimpiade Musim Panas.

Setelah akhir Perang Dunia II, Los Angeles tumbuh dengan sangat cepat, menyebar hingga San Fernando Valley.  Pada tahun 1969, Los Angeles menjadi salah satu tempat kelahiran Internet, karena transmisi ARPANET pertama dikirimkan dari University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) ke SRI di Menlo Park. 

Los Angeles Coliseum menjadi tempat penyelenggaraan Olimpiade Musim Panas 1932 dan 1984.

Pada tahun 1984, kota ini menyelenggarkaan Olimpiade Musim Panas untuk kedua kalinya. Meski diboikot oleh 14 negara Komunis, Olimpiade Musim Panas 1984 lebih sukses secara finansial ketimbang Olimpiade sebelumnya,[36] sekaligus Olimpiade kedua yang menghasilkan keuntungan setelah Olimpiade Musim Panas 1932 yang juga diadakan di Los Angeles. 

Ketegangan rasial mencuat pada tanggal 29 April 1992 setelah beberapa polisi yang tertangkap kamera sedang memukul Rodney King dibebaskan oleh hakim di Simi Valley, berujung pada kerusuhan berskala besar.  Pada tahun 1994, gempa bumi Northridge berkekuatan 6,7 mengguncang kota dan mengakibatkan kerusakan senilai $12,5 miliar serta kematian sebanyak 72 orang. Abad ini ditutup dengan skandal Rampart, salah satu kasus kelakuan buruk polisi yang paling banyak didokumentasikan sepanjang sejarah Amerika Serikat. 

Pada tahun 2002, para pemberi suara menggagalkan upaya San Fernando Valley dan Hollywood untuk memisahkan diri dari Los Angeles. 

Geografi

Topografi

Los Angeles berbentuk ireguler dan mencakup wilayah seluas 502,7 mil persegi (1302 km2), yang terdiri dari 468,7 mil persegi (1214 km2) daratan dan 34,0 mil persegi (88 km2) perairan. Kota ini membujur sepanjang 44 mile (71 km) dan melintang sepanjang 29 mile (47 km). Los Angeles memiliki batas kota sepanjang 342 mile (550 km).

Cekungan Los Angeles

Los Angeles datar dan berbukit. Titik tertinggi di kota ini adalah Mount Lukens pada ketinggian 5074 ft (1547 m), terletak di ujung timur laut Lembah San Fernando. Ujung timur Pegunungan Santa Monica membentang dari Downtown hingga Samudra Pasifik dan memisahkan Cekungan Los Angeles dari Lembah San Fernando. Daerah berbukit lainnya di Los Angeles adalah kawasan Mt. Washington di sebelah utara Downtown, bagian timur Boyle Heights, distrik Crenshaw di sekitar Baldwin Hills, dan distrik San Pedro.

Mallard di Sungai Los Angeles

Sungai Los Angeles, yang mengalir musiman saja, adalah saluran drainase utama di kota ini. Sungai ini diluruskan dan dan dibentangkan dengan beton sepanjang 51 mil oleh Army Corps of Engineers untuk dimanfaatkan sebagai saluran pengendali banjir. Sungai ini berawal di distrik Canoga Park, kemudian mengalir ke timur dari Lembah San Fernando di sepanjang tepian utara Pegunungan Santa Monica, dan berbelok ke selatan melintasi pusat kota, mengalir ke muaranya di Port of Long Beach di Samudra Pasifik. Ballona Creek yang lebih kecil mengalir ke Santa Monica Bay di Playa del Rey.

MacArthur Park

Wilayah Los Angeles kaya akan spesies tanaman asli karena keragaman habitatnya, termasuk pantai, rawa, dan pegunungan. Lingkungan botani yang paling cocok untuk kota ini adalah semak sage pesisir, yang menutupi sisi perbukitan yang dipenuhi chaparral mudah terbakar. Tanaman aslinya meliputi poppy California, poppy matilija, toyon, Coast Live Oak, dan Giant Wildrye. Banyak di antara spesies asli ini, seperti bunga matahari Los Angeles, menjadi langka dan terancam punah. Meski bukan tanaman asli daerah ini, pohon resmi kota Los Angeles adalah Pohon Koral (Erythrina caffra) dan bunga resmi kota Los Angeles adalah Burung Surga (Strelitzia reginae). Palem Kipas Meksiko, Palem Kipas California, dan Palem Pulau Canary dapat dilihat di seluruh kawasan Los Angeles, meski pohon yang terakhir disebutkan tadi bukan asli California Selatan.

Geologi

Los Angeles rawan gempa karena lokasinya di Cincin Api Pasifik. Ketidakstabilan geologinya telah menghasilkan banyak patahan, yang memunculkan 10.000 gempa bumi setiap tahunnya. Salah satu patahan besar di daerah ini adalah Patahan San Andreas. Terletak di perbatasan Lempeng Pasifik dengan Lempeng Amerika Utara, patahan ini diprediksi menjadi sumber gempa bumi besar selanjutnya di California. Gempa bumi besar yang pernah mengguncang wilayah Los Angeles adalah gempa bumi Northridge 1994, gempa bumi Whittier Narrows 1987, gempa bumi San Fernando 1971 dekat Sylmar, dan gempa bumi Long Beach 1993. Meski begitu, semua kecuali beberapa gempa memiliki intensitas rendah dan tidak dapat dirasakan manusia. Cekungan dan wilayah metropolitan Los Angeles juga terancam mengalami gempa bumi dorongan kosong. Sebagian wilayah kota juga rawan terkena tsunami; daerah pelabuhan pernah dirusak oleh gelombang akibat gempa bumi Valdivia tahun 1960.

Iklim

Lanskap kota

Panorama Los Angeles dilihat dari Mulholland Drive. Kiri ke kanan: Santa Ana Mountains, Downtown, Hollywood (latar depan), Wilshire Boulevard, Port of Los Angeles, Palos Verdes Peninsula, Santa Catalina Island, dan Los Angeles International Airport.

Kota ini dibagi menjadi lebih dari 80 distrik dan permukiman, banyak di antaranya merupakan tempat gabungan atau permukiman yang dianeksasi oleh pemerintah kota. Los Angeles Raya mencakup sejumlah enklave dan permukiman sekitarnya. Secara umum, kota ini dibagi menjadi wilayah-wilayah berikut: Downtown Los Angeles, East Los Angeles dan Northeast Los Angeles, South Los Angeles, Harbor Area, Greater Hollywood, Wilshire, Westside, dan San Fernando dan Crescenta Valley.

Sejumlah permukiman terkenal di Los Angeles meliputi West Adams, Watts, Leimert Park, Baldwin Hills, Venice, Downtown Financial District, Silver Lake, Hollywood, Koreatown, Westwood dan daerah yang lebih elit seperti Bel Air, Benedict Canyon, Hollywood Hills, Los Feliz, Hancock Park, Pacific Palisades, Century City, dan Brentwood.

Hollywood, sebuah distrik terkenal di Los Angeles, sering disalahartikan sebagai sebuah kota independen (sebagaimana West Hollywood).

Markah tanah

Markah tanah utama di Los Angeles meliputi Walt Disney Concert Hall, Kodak Theatre, Griffith Observatory, Getty Center, Getty Villa, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, Hollywood Sign, Bradbury Building, Hollywood Boulevard, Capitol Records Building, Los Angeles City Hall, Hollywood Bowl, Theme Building, Watts Towers, Staples Center, Dodger Stadium, dan La Placita Olvera/Olvera Street.

L.A. Live
Grauman’s Chinese Theatre
Griffith Observatory
Capitol Records Building

Budaya

Los Angeles sering dijuluki “Ibu Kota Kreatif Dunia” karena kenyataan bahwa satu dari enam penduduknya adalah pekerja industri kreatif. Menurut USC Stevens Institute for Innovation, “lebih banyak seniman, penulis, pembuat film, aktor, penari dan musisi yang tinggal dan bekerja di Los Angeles daripada kota lain dalam sejarah peradaban manusia.”

Hollywood Sign

Los Angeles adalah rumah bagi Hollywood, yang dikenal secara global sebagai pusat industri perfilman. Sebagai bukti dominasinya dalam perfilman, kota ini menjadi tempat penyelenggaraan acara tahunan Academy Awards, acara penghargaan tertua dan berpengaruh di dunia. Los Angeles adalah rumah bagi USC School of Cinematic Arts, sekolah film tertua di Amerika Serikat.

Seni panggung memainkan peran utama dalam identitas budaya Los Angeles. Menurut USC Stevens Institute for Innovation, “ada lebih dari 1.100 produksi teatrikal setiap tahunnya dan 21 pementasan setiap minggunya.” Los Angeles Music Center merupakan “satu dari tiga pusat seni panggung terbesar di negara ini,” dengan lebih dari 1,3 juta pengunjung setiap tahun.[60] Walt Disney Concert Hall, bagian utama dari Music Center, adalah rumah bagi Los Angeles Philharmonic. Organisasi ternama seperti Center Theatre Group, Los Angeles Master Chorale, dan Los Angeles Opera juga menjadi perusahaan tetap di Music Center. Bakat masyarakat terus dikembangkan di institusi-institusi utama seperti Colburn School dan USC Thornton School of Music.

Museum dan galeri

Ada 841 museum dan galeri seni di Los Angeles County. Faktanya, Los Angeles memiliki lebih banyak museum per kapita daripada kota-kota lain di dunia.  Sejumlah museum ternama di sana mencakup Los Angeles County Museum of Art (museum seni terbesar di Amerika Serikat Barat), Getty Center (bagian dari J. Paul Getty Trust, institusi seni terkaya di dunia), dan Museum of Contemporary Art. Sejumlah galeri seni berdiri di Gallery Row, dan puluhan ribu orang mengunjungi Downtown Art Walk yang diadakan setiap bulan di sana. 

Media

Harian berbahasa Inggris utama di Los Angeles adalah Los Angeles Times. La Opinión adalah harian berbahasa Spanyol terbesar di kota ini, The Korea Times merupakan harian berbahasa Korea terbesar, dan Los Angeles Sentinel merupakan harian Afrika-Amerika terbesar di kota ini, dengan jumlah pembaca berkulit Hitam terbesar di Amerika Serikat Barat. Investor’s Business Daily didistribusikan dari kantor korporatnya di L.A. yang terletak di Playa del Rey. Ada pula beberapa surat kabar regional yang lebih kecil, mingguan alternatif dan majalah, termasuk Daily News (berfokus pada pemberitaan di San Fernando Valley), LA Weekly, Los Angeles CityBeat, L.A. Record (berfokus pada musik di Wilayah Los Angeles Raya), majalah Los Angeles, Los Angeles Business Journal, Los Angeles Daily Journal (surat kabar industri hukum), The Hollywood Reporter dan Variety (surat kabar industri hiburan), dan Los Angeles Downtown News. Selain surat kabar besar, beberapa surat kabar periodik lokal melayani masyarakat imigran dalam bahasa asli mereka, termasuk Armenia, Inggris, Korea, Persia, Rusia, Cina, Jepang, Ibrani, dan Arab. Banyak kota terdekat Los Angeles memiliki hariannya sendiri yang pemberitaannya juga mencakup beberapa permukiman di Los Angeles. Contoh harian tersebut adalah The Daily Breeze (melayani South Bay), dan The Long Beach Press-Telegram.

Fox Plaza di Century City, kantor pusat 20th Century Fox, merupakan distrik keuangan besar untuk West Los Angeles

Kota ini memiliki banyak saluran televisi besar dan tiga stasiun PBS. World TV mengudara di dua saluran dan wilayah ini memiliki beberapa jaringan televisi berbahasa Spanyol. KTBN 40 adalah stasiun utama Trinity Broadcasting Network, yang berbasis di luar Santa Ana. Berbagai stasiun televisi independen juga beroperasi di wilayah ini.

Kantor pusat Los Angeles Times

Ekonomi

Perusahaan-perusahaan seperti US Bancorp, Ernst & Young, Aon, Manulife Financial, City National Bank, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Deloitte, KPMG, dan Union Bank of California memiliki kantor di Downtown Financial District

Ekonomi Los Angeles digerakkan oleh perdagangan internasional, hiburan (televisi, film, permainan video, musik rekaman), dirgantara, teknologi, minyak, mode, perlengkapan, dan pariwisata. Los Angeles juga merupakan pusat manufaktur terbesar di Amerika Serikat Barat. Pelabuhan Los Angeles dan Long Beach bersama-sama membentuk pelabuhan tersibuk kelima di dunia dan merupakan pelabuhan terpenting di Belahan Bumi Barat dan penting bagi perdagangan di Cincin Pasifik. Industri utama lainnya mencakup produksi media, keuangan, telekomunikasi, hukum, kesehatan, dan transportasi. Wilayah statistik metropolitan (WSM) Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana memiliki produk metropolitan bruto (PMB) senilai $735,7 miliar (tahun 2010), menjadikannya pusat ekonomi terbesar ketiga di dunia, setelah Wilayah Tokyo Raya dan Wilayah Statistik Gabungan (WSG) New York-Newark-Bridgeport. Jika dianggap negara, WSG Los Angeles adalah ekonomi terbesar ke-15 di dunia menurut PDB nominal.[68] Los Angeles telah dikelompokkan sebagai sebuah “kota dunia Alpha” menurut studi tahun 2010 oleh kelompok riset di Lougborough University di Inggris. 

Distrik Keuangan (“Financial District”) di pusat kota Los Angeles

Kota ini adalah tempat berdirinya tujuh perusahaan Fortune 500, yaitu kontraktor dirgantara Northrop Grumman, perusahaan energi Occidental Petroleum, penyedia layanan kesehatan Health Net, distributor logam Reliance Steel & Aluminum, firma teknik AECOM, grup real estat CBRE Group, dan perusahaan pembangun Tutor Perini.

Perusahaan lain yang berkantor pusat di Los Angeles meliputi California Pizza Kitchen, Capital Group, Capstone Turbine, The Cheesecake Factory, Cathay Bank, City National Bank, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, DeviantArt, Far East National Bank, Farmers Insurance Group, Fox Entertainment Group, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Guess?, Hanmi Bank, Herbalife, J2 Global Communications, The Jim Henson Company, KB Home, Korn/Ferry, Latham & Watkins, Mercury Insurance Group, Oaktree Capital Management, O’Melveny & Myers; Pabst Blue Ribbon, Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker, Premier America, Premiere Radio Networks, Rentech, Roll International, Sunkist, The TCW Group, Tokyopop, Triton Media Group, United Online, dan VCA Antech.

Wilayah metropolitannya adalah rumah bagi kantor pusat berbagai perusahaan yang pindah ke luar Kota Los Angeles untuk menghindari pajak tinggi dan tingkat kejahatan yang tinggi, namun juga berusaha mempertahankan keuntungan dari lokasinya yang dekat Los Angeles. Misalnya, Los Angeles membebankan pajak penghasilan bruto berdasarkan persentasi penghasilan bisnis, sementara banyak kota sekitarnya cuma membebankan tarif tetap yang rendah.

University of Southern California (USC) merupakan penyedia pekerjaan sektor swasta terbesar di kota ini dan menyumbang $4 miliar setiap tahunnya kepada ekonomi setempat.

Walt Disney Concert Hall

Menurut 2010 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, sepuluh penyedia pekerjaan teratas di kota ini pada tahun 2009 adalah, secara menurun, Pemerintah Kota Los Angeles, Pemerintah Los Angeles County, University of California, Los Angeles, University of Southern California, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Kaiser Permanente, Fox Entertainment Group, Farmers Insurance Group, TeamOne, dan Northrop Grumman.

Pendidikan

Perguruan tinggi dan universitas

Ada tiga universitas umum yang terletak di kota ini: California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA), California State University, Northridge (CSUN) dan University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Perguruan tinggi swasta di kota ini meliputi American Film Institute Conservatory, Alliant International University, Syracuse University (Los Angeles Campus), American InterContinental University, American Jewish University, The American Musical and Dramatic Academy – kampus Los Angeles, kampus Los Angeles Antioch University, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising’s Los Angeles campus (FIDM), Los Angeles Film School, Loyola Marymount University (LMU juga merupakan universitas induk Loyola Law School yang terletak di Los Angeles), Marymount College, Mount St. Mary’s College, National University of California, Occidental College (“Oxy”), Otis College of Art and Design (Otis), Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc), Southwestern Law School, dan University of Southern California (USC).

Cabang kedua California State Normal School di Downtown Los Angeles dibuka tahun 1882.

Sistem perguruan tinggi komunitas mencakup sembilan kampus yang dipimpin dewan kepercayaan Los Angeles Community College District: East Los Angeles College (ELAC), Los Angeles City College (LACC), Los Angeles Harbor College, Los Angeles Mission College, Los Angeles Pierce College, Los Angeles Valley College (LAVC), Los Angeles Southwest College, Los Angeles Trade-Technical College, dan West Los Angeles College.

Sekolah dan perpustakaan

Los Angeles Unified School District melayani hampir seluruh kota Los Angeles, serta beberapa permukiman sekitarnya, dengan jumlah siswa mencapai 800.000 jiwa. Setelah Proposition 13 was disetujui tahun 1978, distrik sekolah kota mengalami masalah pendanaan. LAUSD semakin dikenal karena memiliki banyak kampus yang kurang pendanaan, terlalu padat dan dikelola dengan buruk, meski 162 sekolah magnetnya sudah membantu bersaing dengan sekolah swasta setempat. Beberapa wilayah kecil Los Angeles masuk dalam Las Virgenes Unified School District. Los Angeles County Office of Education mengoperasikan Los Angeles County High School for the Arts. Sistem Los Angeles Public Library mengoperasikan 72 perpustakaan umum di kota ini. Enklave wilayah lepas dilayani oleh County of Los Angeles Public Library, banyak di antaranya terletak dekat dengan penduduk City of Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles Central Library in Downtown

Transportasi

Jalan bebas

Kota ini dan seluruh wilayah metropolitan Los Angeles dilayani oleh jaringan jalan bebas dan jalan bebas hambatan yang luas. Texas Transportation Institute, yang menerbitkan Urban Mobility Report setiap tahunnya, menempatkan kemacetan lalu lintas jalanan Los Angeles pada peringkat pertama di Amerika Serikat pada tahun 2005 berdasarkan kemacetan tahunan per penglaju. Penglaju rata-rata di Los Angeles menghabiskan 72 jam dalam kemacetan per tahun menurut studi ini. Los Angeles diikuti oleh San Francisco/Oakland, Washington, D.C., dan Atlanta (masing-masing 60 jam kemacetan). Meski macet di kota, waktu tempuh rata-rata bagi penglaju di Los Angeles lebih pendek daripada kota-kota besar lainnya, seperti New York City, Philadelphia dan Chicago. Waktu tempuh rata-rata bagi penglaju kerja di Los Angeles pada tahun 2006 adalah 29,2 menit, sama seperti San Francisco dan Washington, D.C.

Jalan-jalan bebas hambatan besar yang menghubungkan LA dengan seluruh Amerika Serikat mencakup Interstate 5, yang membentang ke selatan melewati San Diego ke Tijuana di Meksiko dan ke utara melewati Sacramento, Portland, dan Seattle ke perbatasan Kanada; Interstate 10, Interstate Highway paling selatan yang membentang timur-barat dan pantai-ke-pantai di Amerika Serikat, yang membentang hingga Jacksonville, Florida; dan U.S. Route 101, yang mengarah ke California Central Coast, San Francisco, Redwood Empire, dan pesisir Oregon dan Washington.

Sistem angkutan cepat

Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority dan badan lain mengoperasikan sistem jalur bus yang besar, serta kereta bawah tanah dan kereta ringan di seluruh Los Angeles County, dengan jumlah penumpang bulanan (diukur secara pribadi) mencapai 38,8 juta orang pada September 2011. Sebagian besar (30,5 juta) berasal dari sistem bus kota, yang merupakan sistem bus tersibuk kedua di Amerika Serikat. Rata-rata gabungan kereta bawah tanah dan kereta ringan ditempati sisanya, 8,2 juta penumpang per bulan. Pada tahun 2005, 10,2% penglaju Los Angeles memakai transportasi umum.

Peta Los Angeles Metro Rail yang memperlihatkan jalur yang sudah ada dan sedang dibangun.

Sistem kereta bawah tanah kota adalah yang tersibuk kesembilan di Amerika Serikat dan sistem kereta ringannya merupakan yang tersibuk kedua di negara ini. Sistem kereta kota meliputi jalur kereta bawah tanah Red dan Purple, serta jalur kereta ringan Gold, Blue, dan Green. Fase pertama Expo Line dijadwalkan dibuka tanggal 28 April 2012. Metro Orange Line adalah sebuah jalur angkutan cepat bus dengan perhentian dan frekuensi yang sama seperti kereta ringan. Kota ini juga merupakan pusat sistem kereta komuter Metrolink, yang menghubungkan Los Angeles dengan seluruh county sekitarnya dan banyak pinggiran kota.

Di samping layanan kereta Metrolink dan Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Los Angeles dilayani oleh kereta penumpang antarkota Amtrak. Stasiun kereta utama di kota ini adalah Union Station yang terletak di sebelah utara Downtown.

Bandar udara

Bandar udara utama di Los Angeles adalah Bandar Udara Internasional Los Angeles (IATA: LAX, ICAO: KLAX). Bandar udara komersial tersibuk keenam di dunia dan ketiga di Amerika Serikat ini menangani lebih dari 61 juta penumpang dan 2 juta ton kargo pada tahun 2006. LAX adalah hub bagi United Airlines.

Bandar udara komersial besar di sekitarnya meliputi:

  • (IATA: ONT, ICAO: KONT) Bandar Udara Internasional LA/Ontario, dimiliki pemerintah kota Los Angeles; melayani Inland Empire.
  • (IATA: BUR, ICAO: KBUR) Bandar Udara Bob Hope, sebelumnya bernama Bandar Udara Burbank; melayani Lembah San Fernando dan San Gabriel
  • (IATA: LGB, ICAO: KLGB) Bandar Udara Long Beach, melayani Long Beach/Harbor
  • (IATA: SNA, ICAO: KSNA) Bandar Udara John Wayne di Orange County.

Sa;ah satu bandara penerbangan umum tersibuk di dunia juga terletak di Los Angeles, yaitu Bandar Udara Van Nuys (IATA: VNY, ICAO: KVNY).

Theme Building di LAX

Pelabuhan

Port of Los Angeles terletak di San Pedro Bay di permukiman San Pedro, sekitar 20 mile (32 km) di selatan Downtown. Juga disebut Los Angeles Harbor dan WORLDPORT LA, komplek pelabuhan ini menduduki wilayah daratan dan perairan seluas 7500 acre (30 km2) di tepian pesisir sepanjang 43 mile (69 km). Pelabuhan ini bergabung dengan Port of Long Beach.

Pemandangan Vincent Thomas Bridge yang berujung di Terminal Island

Port of Los Angeles dan Port of Long Beach bersama membentuk Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor. Kedua pelabuhan tersebut membentuk pelabuhan kontainer tersibuk kelima di dunia, dengan volume perdagangan senilai lebih dari 14,22 juta TEU pada tahun 2008. Port of Los Angeles sendiri adalah pelabuhan kontainer tersibuk di Amerika Serikat dan puast kapal pesiar terbesar di Pesisir Barat Amerika Serikat – The Port of Los Angeles’ World Cruise Center melayani sekitar 800.000 penumpang pada tahun 2009.

Ada pula pelabuhan-pelabuhan non-industri yang lebih kecil di sepanjang pesisir Los Angeles. Penjaga pantai berpengalaman dari Los Angeles City hanya ada di pantai-pantai yang dimiliki pemerintah kota.

Pelabuhan ini memiliki empat jembatan, yaitu Vincent Thomas Bridge, Henry Ford Bridge, Gerald Desmond Bridge, dan Commodore Schuyler F. Heim Bridge.

Layanan feri penumpang dari San Pedro ke kota Avalon di Santa Catalina Island disediakan oleh Catalina Express.

Demografi

Los Angeles adalah rumah bagi orang-orang dari 140 negara yang mempertuturkan 224 bahasa yang berbeda. Enklave etnis seperti Chinatown, Historic Filipinotown, Koreatown, Little Armenia, Little Ethiopia, Tehrangeles, Little Tokyo, dan Thai Town memberi contoh karakter Los Angeles yang poliglot.

Pemandangan pusat kota Los Angeles dari udara.

Kota kembar

Los Angeles memiliki 25 kota kembar, diurutkan secara kronologis menurut tahun bergabung:

Mission San Fernando Rey de España, circa 1910
Papan dekat City Hall yang mengarah ke kota-kota kembar Los Angeles

Martin Luther King Jr.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Martin_Luther_King,_Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. (born Michael King Jr., January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) was an American Baptist minister and activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the civil rights movement. He is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using the tactics of nonviolence and civil disobedience based on his Christian beliefs and inspired by the nonviolent activism of Mahatma Gandhi.

King became a civil rights activist early in his career. He led the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott and helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in 1957, serving as its first president. With the SCLC, King led an unsuccessful 1962 struggle against segregation in Albany, Georgia, and helped organize the 1963 nonviolent protests in Birmingham, Alabama. King also helped to organize the 1963 March on Washington, where he delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.

On October 14, 1964, King received the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolent resistance. In 1965, he helped to organize the Selma to Montgomery marches, and the following year he and SCLC took the movement north to Chicago to work on segregated housing. In the final years of his life, King expanded his focus to include opposition towards poverty and the Vietnam War, alienating many of his liberal allies with a 1967 speech titled “Beyond Vietnam”.

In 1968, King was planning a national occupation of Washington, D.C., to be called the Poor People’s Campaign, when he was assassinated by James Earl Ray on April 4 in Memphis, Tennessee. King’s death was followed by riots in many U.S. cities. Ray, who fled the country, was arrested two months later at London Heathrow Airport. Ray was sentenced to 99 years in prison for King’s murder, and died in 1998 from hepatitis while serving his sentence.

King was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. Martin Luther King Jr. Day was established as a holiday in numerous cities and states beginning in 1971, and as a U.S. federal holiday in 1986. Hundreds of streets in the U.S. have been renamed in his honor, and a county in Washington State was also renamed for him. The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., was dedicated in 2011.

 

Opera Snapshot_2017-12-28_053216_en.wikipedia.org Opera Snapshot_2017-12-28_053320_en.wikipedia.org

Contents
1 Early life and education
1.1 Doctoral studies
2 Montgomery bus boycott, 1955
3 Southern Christian Leadership Conference
3.1 Albany Movement
3.2 Birmingham campaign
3.3 St. Augustine, Florida
3.4 Selma, Alabama
3.5 New York City
4 March on Washington, 1963
5 Selma voting rights movement and “Bloody Sunday”, 1965
6 Chicago open housing movement, 1966
7 Opposition to the Vietnam War
8 Poor People’s Campaign, 1968
8.1 After King’s death
9 Assassination and aftermath
9.1 Aftermath
9.2 Allegations of conspiracy
10 Legacy
10.1 Martin Luther King Jr. Day
10.2 Liturgical commemorations
10.3 UK legacy and The Martin Luther King Peace Committee
11 Ideas, influences, and political stances
11.1 Religion
11.2 Nonviolence
11.3 Politics
11.4 Compensation
11.5 Family planning
12 FBI and King’s personal life
12.1 FBI surveillance and wiretapping
12.2 NSA monitoring of King’s communications
12.3 Allegations of communism
12.4 CIA surveillance
12.5 Adultery
12.6 Police observation during the assassination
13 Awards and recognition
13.1 Five-dollar bill
14 Works

Early Life and Education


800px-Atlanta_Trip_130

The high school that King attended was named after African-American educator Booker T. Washington.

King was born on January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia, to the Reverend Martin Luther King, Sr. (1899–1984) and Alberta Williams King (1904–1974). King’s legal name at birth was Michael King, and his father was also born Michael King, but the elder King changed his and his son’s names following a 1934 trip to Germany to attend the Fifth Baptist World Alliance Congress in Berlin. It was during this time he chose to be called Martin Luther King in honor of the German reformer Martin Luther. King’s parents were both African-American, and he also had Irish ancestry through his paternal great-grandfather.

King was a middle child, between an older sister, Willie Christine King, and a younger brother, Alfred Daniel Williams King. King sang with his church choir at the 1939 Atlanta premiere of the movie Gone with the Wind. King liked singing and music. His mother was an accomplished organist and choir leader, and she took him to various churches to sing. He received attention for singing “I Want to Be More and More Like Jesus.” King later became a member of the junior choir in his church.

King said that his father regularly whipped him until he was fifteen; a neighbor reported hearing the elder King telling his son “he would make something of him even if he had to beat him to death.” King saw his father’s proud and fearless protests against segregation, such as King Sr. refusing to listen to a traffic policeman after being referred to as “boy,” or stalking out of a store with his son when being told by a shoe clerk that they would have to “move to the rear” of the store to be served.

When King was a child, he befriended a white boy whose father owned a business near his family’s home. When the boys were six, they started school: King had to attend a school for African Americans and the other boy went to one for whites (public schools were among the facilities segregated by state law). King lost his friend because the child’s father no longer wanted the boys to play together.

King suffered from depression throughout much of his life. In his adolescent years, he initially felt resentment against whites due to the “racial humiliation” that he, his family, and his neighbors often had to endure in the segregated South. At the age of 12, shortly after his maternal grandmother died, King blamed himself and jumped out of a second-story window, but survived.

King was skeptical of many of Christianity’s claims. At the age of 13, he denied the bodily resurrection of Jesus during Sunday school. From this point, he stated, “doubts began to spring forth unrelentingly.” However, he later concluded that the Bible has “many profound truths which one cannot escape” and decided to enter the seminary.

Growing up in Atlanta, King attended Booker T. Washington High School. He became known for his public speaking ability and was part of the school’s debate team. King became the youngest assistant manager of a newspaper delivery station for the Atlanta Journal in 1942 when he was 13. During his junior year, he won first prize in an oratorical contest sponsored by the Negro Elks Club in Dublin, Georgia. Returning home to Atlanta by bus, he and his teacher were ordered by the driver to stand so that white passengers could sit down. King initially refused, but complied after his teacher told him that he would be breaking the law if he did not submit. King said that during this incident, he was “the angriest I have ever been in my life.” A precocious student, he skipped both the ninth and the twelfth grades of high school.

During King’s junior year in high school, Morehouse College, a respected historically black college, announced that it would accept any high school juniors who could pass its entrance exam. At that time, many students had abandoned further studies to enlist in World War II. Due to this, Morehouse was eager to fill its classrooms. At the age of 15, King passed the exam and entered Morehouse. The summer before his last year at Morehouse, in 1947, the 18-year-old King chose to enter the ministry. He had concluded that the church offered the most assuring way to answer “an inner urge to serve humanity.” King’s “inner urge” had begun developing, and he made peace with the Baptist Church, as he believed he would be a “rational” minister with sermons that were “a respectful force for ideas, even social protest.”

In 1948, he graduated from Morehouse with a B.A. in sociology and enrolled in Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania, from which he graduated with a B.Div. degree in 1951. King’s father fully supported his decision to continue his education.

While attending Crozer, King was joined by Walter McCall, a former classmate at Morehouse. At Crozer, King was elected president of the student body. The African-American students of Crozer for the most part conducted their social activity on Edwards Street. King became fond of the street because a classmate had an aunt who prepared collard greens for them, which they both relished.

King once reproved another student for keeping beer in his room, saying they had shared responsibility as African Americans to bear “the burdens of the Negro race.” For a time, he was interested in Walter Rauschenbusch’s “social gospel.” In his third year at Morehouse, King became romantically involved with the white daughter of an immigrant German woman who worked as a cook in the cafeteria. The daughter had been involved with a professor prior to her relationship with King. King planned to marry her, but friends advised against it, saying that an interracial marriage would provoke animosity from both blacks and whites, potentially damaging his chances of ever pastoring a church in the South. King tearfully told a friend that he could not endure his mother’s pain over the marriage and broke the relationship off six months later. He continued to have lingering feelings toward the women he left; one friend was quoted as saying, “He never recovered.”

King married Coretta Scott on June 18, 1953, on the lawn of her parents’ house in her hometown of Heiberger, Alabama; he was 24 and she was 26. They became the parents of four children: Yolanda King (b. 1955, d. 2007), Martin Luther King III (b. 1957), Dexter Scott King (b. 1961), and Bernice King (b. 1963). During their marriage, King limited Coretta’s role in the civil rights movement, expecting her to be a housewife and mother.

At age 25 in 1954, King was called as pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama.

Doctoral Studies

King began doctoral studies in systematic theology at Boston University and received his Ph.D. on June 5, 1955, with a dissertation on A Comparison of the Conceptions of God in the Thinking of Paul Tillich and Henry Nelson Wieman. While pursuing doctoral studies, King worked as an assistant minister at Boston’s historic Twelfth Baptist Church with Rev. William Hunter Hester. Hester was an old friend of King’s father, and was an important influence on King.

Decades later, an academic inquiry in October 1991 concluded that portions of his dissertation had been plagiarized and he had acted improperly. However, “[d]espite its finding, the committee said that ‘no thought should be given to the revocation of Dr. King’s doctoral degree,’ an action that the panel said would serve no purpose.” The committee also found that the dissertation still “makes an intelligent contribution to scholarship.” A letter is now attached to the copy of King’s dissertation held in the university library, noting that numerous passages were included without the appropriate quotations and citations of sources.

Montgomery Bus Boycott, 1955


lossless-page1-560px-Rosa_Parks_(detail).tiff

Rosa Parks with King, 1955

In March 1955, Claudette Colvin, a black fifteen-year-old schoolgirl in Montgomery, refused to give up her bus seat to a white man in compliance with Jim Crow laws, which were local regulations in the Southern United States that enforced racial segregation. King was on the committee from the Birmingham African-American community that looked into the case; because Colvin was pregnant and unmarried, E. D. Nixon and Clifford Durr decided to wait for a better case to pursue.

On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a city bus. The Montgomery bus boycott, urged and planned by Nixon and led by King, soon followed. The boycott lasted for 385 days, and the situation became so tense that King’s house was bombed. King was arrested during this campaign, which concluded with a United States District Court ruling in Browder v. Gayle that ended racial segregation on all Montgomery public buses. King’s role in the bus boycott transformed him into a national figure and the best-known spokesman of the civil rights movement.

Southern Christian Leadership Conference


In 1957, King, Ralph Abernathy, Fred Shuttlesworth, Joseph Lowery, and other civil rights activists founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). The group was created to harness the moral authority and organizing power of black churches to conduct nonviolent protests in the service of civil rights reform. One of the group’s inspirations was the crusades of evangelist Billy Graham, who befriended King after he attended a Graham crusade in New York City in 1957. King led the SCLC until his death. The SCLC’s 1957 Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom was the first time King addressed a national audience. Other civil rights leaders involved in the SCLC with King included: James Bevel, Allen Johnson, Curtis W. Harris, Walter E. Fauntroy, C. T. Vivian, Andrew Young, The Freedom Singers, Charles Evers, Cleveland Robinson, Randolph Blackwell, Annie Bell Robinson Devine, Charles Kenzie Steele, Alfred Daniel Williams King, Benjamin Hooks, Aaron Henry and Bayard Rustin.

On September 20, 1958, while signing copies of his book Stride Toward Freedom in Blumstein’s department store in Harlem, King narrowly escaped death when Izola Curry, a mentally ill black woman who believed he was conspiring against her with communists, stabbed him in the chest with a letter opener. After emergency surgery by Aubre de Lambert Maynard, Emil Naclerio and John W. V. Cordice, King was hospitalized for several weeks, while Curry was found mentally incompetent to stand trial. In 1959, he published a short book called The Measure of A Man, which contained his sermons “What is Man?” and “The Dimensions of a Complete Life.” The sermons argued for man’s need for God’s love and criticized the racial injustices of Western civilization.

Harry Wachtel—who joined King’s legal advisor Clarence B. Jones in defending four ministers of the SCLC in a libel suit over a newspaper advertisement (New York Times Co. v. Sullivan)—founded a tax-exempt fund to cover the expenses of the suit and to assist the nonviolent civil rights movement through a more effective means of fundraising. This organization was named the “Gandhi Society for Human Rights.” King served as honorary president for the group. Displeased with the pace of President Kennedy’s addressing the issue of segregation, King and the Gandhi Society produced a document in 1962 calling on the President to follow in the footsteps of Abraham Lincoln and use an executive order to deliver a blow for civil rights as a kind of Second Emancipation Proclamation. Kennedy did not execute the order.

Photograph_of_White_House_Meeting_with_Civil_Rights_Leaders._June_22,_1963_-_NARA_-_194190_(no_border).tif

Lyndon B. Johnson and Robert F. Kennedy with civil rights leaders, June 22, 1963

The FBI, under written directive from Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, began tapping King’s telephone in the fall of 1963. Concerned that allegations of communists in the SCLC, if made public, would derail the administration’s civil rights initiatives, Kennedy warned King to discontinue these associations, and later felt compelled to issue the written directive authorizing the FBI to wiretap King and other SCLC leaders. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover feared the civil rights movement and investigated the allegations of communist infiltration. When no evidence emerged to support this, the FBI used the incidental details caught on tape over the next five years in attempts to force King out of his leadership position, in the COINTELPRO program.

King believed that organized, nonviolent protest against the system of southern segregation known as Jim Crow laws would lead to extensive media coverage of the struggle for black equality and voting rights. Journalistic accounts and televised footage of the daily deprivation and indignities suffered by Southern blacks, and of segregationist violence and harassment of civil rights workers and marchers, produced a wave of sympathetic public opinion that convinced the majority of Americans that the civil rights movement was the most important issue in American politics in the early 1960s.

King organized and led marches for blacks’ right to vote, desegregation, labor rights, and other basic civil rights. Most of these rights were successfully enacted into the law of the United States with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

King and the SCLC put into practice many of the principles of the Christian Left and applied the tactics of nonviolent protest with great success by strategically choosing the method of protest and the places in which protests were carried out. There were often dramatic stand-offs with segregationist authorities, who sometimes turned violent.

Throughout his participation in the civil rights movement, King was criticized by many groups. This included opposition by more militant blacks such as Nation of Islam member Malcolm X. Stokely Carmichael was a separatist and disagreed with King’s plea for racial integration because he considered it an insult to a uniquely African-American culture. Omali Yeshitela urged Africans to remember the history of violent European colonization and how power was not secured by Europeans through integration, but by violence and force.

Albany Movement

The Albany Movement was a desegregation coalition formed in Albany, Georgia, in November 1961. In December, King and the SCLC became involved. The movement mobilized thousands of citizens for a broad-front nonviolent attack on every aspect of segregation within the city and attracted nationwide attention. When King first visited on December 15, 1961, he “had planned to stay a day or so and return home after giving counsel.” The following day he was swept up in a mass arrest of peaceful demonstrators, and he declined bail until the city made concessions. According to King, “that agreement was dishonored and violated by the city” after he left town.

King returned in July 1962, and was sentenced to forty-five days in jail or a $178 fine. He chose jail. Three days into his sentence, Police Chief Laurie Pritchett discreetly arranged for King’s fine to be paid and ordered his release. “We had witnessed persons being kicked off lunch counter stools … ejected from churches … and thrown into jail … But for the first time, we witnessed being kicked out of jail.” It was later acknowledged by the King Center that Billy Graham was the one who bailed King out of jail during this time.

After nearly a year of intense activism with few tangible results, the movement began to deteriorate. King requested a halt to all demonstrations and a “Day of Penance” to promote nonviolence and maintain the moral high ground. Divisions within the black community and the canny, low-key response by local government defeated efforts. Though the Albany effort proved a key lesson in tactics for King and the national civil rights movement, the national media was highly critical of King’s role in the defeat, and the SCLC’s lack of results contributed to a growing gulf between the organization and the more radical SNCC. After Albany, King sought to choose engagements for the SCLC in which he could control the circumstances, rather than entering into pre-existing situations.

Birmingham Campaign

MLK_mugshot_birmingham

Mug shots of King following his arrest for protesting the treatment of blacks in Birmingham

In April 1963, the SCLC began a campaign against racial segregation and economic injustice in Birmingham, Alabama. The campaign used nonviolent but intentionally confrontational tactics, developed in part by Rev. Wyatt Tee Walker. Black people in Birmingham, organizing with the SCLC, occupied public spaces with marches and sit-ins, openly violating laws that they considered unjust.

King’s intent was to provoke mass arrests and “create a situation so crisis-packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation.” However, the campaign’s early volunteers did not succeed in shutting down the city, or in drawing media attention to the police’s actions. Over the concerns of an uncertain King, SCLC strategist James Bevel changed the course of the campaign by recruiting children and young adults to join in the demonstrations. Newsweek called this strategy a Children’s Crusade.

During the protests, the Birmingham Police Department, led by Eugene “Bull” Connor, used high-pressure water jets and police dogs against protesters, including children. Footage of the police response was broadcast on national television news and dominated the nation’s attention, shocking many white Americans and consolidating black Americans behind the movement. Not all of the demonstrators were peaceful, despite the avowed intentions of the SCLC. In some cases, bystanders attacked the police, who responded with force. King and the SCLC were criticized for putting children in harm’s way. But the campaign was a success: Connor lost his job, the “Jim Crow” signs came down, and public places became more open to blacks. King’s reputation improved immensely.

King was arrested and jailed early in the campaign—his 13th arrest out of 29. From his cell, he composed the now-famous Letter from Birmingham Jail which responds to calls on the movement to pursue legal channels for social change. King argues that the crisis of racism is too urgent, and the current system too entrenched: “We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” He points out that the Boston Tea Party, a celebrated act of rebellion in the American colonies, was illegal civil disobedience, and that, conversely, “everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was ‘legal’.” King also expresses his frustration with white moderates and clergymen too timid to oppose an unjust system:

I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistic-ally believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.”

St. Augustine, Florida

In March 1964, King and the SCLC joined forces with Robert Hayling’s then-controversial movement in St. Augustine, Florida. Hayling’s group had been affiliated with the NAACP but was forced out of the organization for advocating armed self-defense alongside nonviolent tactics. However, the pacifist SCLC accepted them. King and the SCLC worked to bring white Northern activists to St. Augustine, including a delegation of rabbis and the 72-year-old mother of the governor of Massachusetts, all of whom were arrested. During June, the movement marched nightly through the city, “often facing counter demonstrations by the Klan, and provoking violence that garnered national media attention.” Hundreds of the marchers were arrested and jailed. During the course of this movement, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed.

Selma, Alabama

In December 1964, King and the SCLC joined forces with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in Selma, Alabama, where the SNCC had been working on voter registration for several months. A local judge issued an injunction that barred any gathering of 3 or more people affiliated with the SNCC, SCLC, DCVL, or any of 41 named civil rights leaders. This injunction temporarily halted civil rights activity until King defied it by speaking at Brown Chapel on January 2, 1965. During the 1965 march to Montgomery, Alabama, violence by state police and others against the peaceful marchers resulted in much publicity, making Alabama’s racism visible nationwide.

New York City

On February 6, 1964, King delivered the inaugural speech of a lecture series initiated at the New School called “The American Race Crisis.” No audio record of his speech has been found, but in August 2013, almost 50 years later, the school discovered an audiotape with 15 minutes of a question-and-answer session that followed King’s address. In these remarks, King referred to a conversation he had recently had with Jawaharlal Nehru in which he compared the sad condition of many African Americans to that of India’s untouchables.

March on Washington, 1963


March_on_Washington_edit

March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

King, representing the SCLC, was among the leaders of the “Big Six” civil rights organizations who were instrumental in the organization of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, which took place on August 28, 1963. The other leaders and organizations comprising the Big Six were Roy Wilkins from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; Whitney Young, National Urban League; A. Philip Randolph, Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters; John Lewis, SNCC; and James L. Farmer Jr., of the Congress of Racial Equality.

The primary logistical and strategic organizer was King’s colleague Bayard Rustin. For King, this role was another which courted controversy, since he was one of the key figures who acceded to the wishes of United States President John F. Kennedy in changing the focus of the march. Kennedy initially opposed the march outright, because he was concerned it would negatively impact the drive for passage of civil rights legislation. However, the organizers were firm that the march would proceed. With the march going forward, the Kennedys decided it was important to work to ensure its success. President Kennedy was concerned the turnout would be less than 100,000. Therefore, he enlisted the aid of additional church leaders and the UAW union to help mobilize demonstrators for the cause.

554px-Martin_Luther_King_-_March_on_Washington

King is most famous for his “I Have a Dream” speech, given in front of the Lincoln Memorial during the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

The march originally was conceived as an event to dramatize the desperate condition of blacks in the southern U.S. and an opportunity to place organizers’ concerns and grievances squarely before the seat of power in the nation’s capital. Organizers intended to denounce the federal government for its failure to safeguard the civil rights and physical safety of civil rights workers and blacks. However, the group acquiesced to presidential pressure and influence, and the event ultimately took on a far less strident tone. As a result, some civil rights activists felt it presented an inaccurate, sanitized pageant of racial harmony; Malcolm X called it the “Farce on Washington”, and the Nation of Islam forbade its members from attending the march.

The march did, however, make specific demands: an end to racial segregation in public schools; meaningful civil rights legislation, including a law prohibiting racial discrimination in employment; protection of civil rights workers from police brutality; a $2 minimum wage for all workers; and self-government for Washington, D.C., then governed by congressional committee. Despite tensions, the march was a resounding success. More than a quarter of a million people of diverse ethnicities attended the event, sprawling from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial onto the National Mall and around the reflecting pool. At the time, it was the largest gathering of protesters in Washington, D.C.’s history.

King delivered a 17-minute speech, later known as “I Have a Dream.” In the speech’s most famous passage—in which he departed from his prepared text, possibly at the prompting of Mahalia Jackson, who shouted behind him, “Tell them about the dream!”—King said:

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.’
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today.

“I Have a Dream” came to be regarded as one of the finest speeches in the history of American oratory. The March, and especially King’s speech, helped put civil rights at the top of the agenda of reformers in the United States and facilitated passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The original typewritten copy of the speech, including King’s handwritten notes on it, was discovered in 1984 to be in the hands of George Raveling, the first African-American basketball coach of the University of Iowa. In 1963, Raveling, then 26, was standing near the podium, and immediately after the oration, impulsively asked King if he could have his copy of the speech. He got it.

Selma voting rights movement and “Bloody Sunday”, 1965


Acting on James Bevel’s call for a march from Selma to Montgomery, King, Bevel, and the SCLC, in partial collaboration with SNCC, attempted to organize the march to the state’s capital. The first attempt to march on March 7, 1965, was aborted because of mob and police violence against the demonstrators. This day has become known as Bloody Sunday and was a major turning point in the effort to gain public support for the civil rights movement. It was the clearest demonstration up to that time of the dramatic potential of King’s nonviolence strategy. King, however, was not present.

800px-Selma_to_Montgomery_Marches_protesters

The civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, in 1965

King met with officials in the Lyndon B. Johnson Administration on March 5 in order to request an injunction against any prosecution of the demonstrators. He did not attend the march due to church duties, but he later wrote, “If I had any idea that the state troopers would use the kind of brutality they did, I would have felt compelled to give up my church duties altogether to lead the line.” Footage of police brutality against the protesters was broadcast extensively and aroused national public outrage.

King next attempted to organize a march for March 9. The SCLC petitioned for an injunction in federal court against the State of Alabama; this was denied and the judge issued an order blocking the march until after a hearing. Nonetheless, King led marchers on March 9 to the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, then held a short prayer session before turning the marchers around and asking them to disperse so as not to violate the court order. The unexpected ending of this second march aroused the surprise and anger of many within the local movement. The march finally went ahead fully on March 25, 1965. At the conclusion of the march on the steps of the state capitol, King delivered a speech that became known as “How Long, Not Long.” In it, King stated that equal rights for African Americans could not be far away, “because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

Chicago Open Housing Movement, 1966


800px-Martin_Luther_King,_Jr._and_Lyndon_Johnson_2

President Lyndon B. Johnson meets with King in the White House Cabinet Room, 1966

In 1966, after several successes in the south, King, Bevel, and others in the civil rights organizations tried to spread the movement to the North, with Chicago as their first destination. King and Ralph Abernathy, both from the middle class, moved into a building at 1550 S. Hamlin Avenue, in the slums of North Lawndale on Chicago’s West Side, as an educational experience and to demonstrate their support and empathy for the poor.

The SCLC formed a coalition with CCCO, Coordinating Council of Community Organizations, an organization founded by Albert Raby, and the combined organizations’ efforts were fostered under the aegis of the Chicago Freedom Movement. During that spring, several white couple/black couple tests of real estate offices uncovered racial steering: discriminatory processing of housing requests by couples who were exact matches in income, background, number of children, and other attributes. Several larger marches were planned and executed: in Bogan, Belmont Cragin, Jefferson Park, Evergreen Park (a suburb southwest of Chicago), Gage Park, Marquette Park, and others.

Abernathy later wrote that the movement received a worse reception in Chicago than in the South. Marches, especially the one through Marquette Park on August 5, 1966, were met by thrown bottles and screaming throngs. Rioting seemed very possible. King’s beliefs militated against his staging a violent event, and he negotiated an agreement with Mayor Richard J. Daley to cancel a march in order to avoid the violence that he feared would result. King was hit by a brick during one march but continued to lead marches in the face of personal danger.

When King and his allies returned to the South, they left Jesse Jackson, a seminary student who had previously joined the movement in the South, in charge of their organization. Jackson continued their struggle for civil rights by organizing the Operation Breadbasket movement that targeted chain stores that did not deal fairly with blacks.

A 1967 CIA document declassified in 2017 downplayed King’s role in the “black militant situation” in Chicago, with a source stating that King “sought at least constructive, positive projects.”

Opposition to the Vietnam War


King long opposed American involvement in the Vietnam War, but at first avoided the topic in public speeches in order to avoid the interference with civil rights goals that criticism of President Johnson’s policies might have created. However, at the urging of SCLC’s former Director of Direct Action and now the head of the Spring Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam, James Bevel, King eventually agreed to publicly oppose the war as opposition was growing among the American public. During an April 4, 1967, appearance at the New York City Riverside Church—exactly one year before his death—King delivered a speech titled “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence.” He spoke strongly against the U.S.’s role in the war, arguing that the U.S. was in Vietnam “to occupy it as an American colony” and calling the U.S. government “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.” He also connected the war with economic injustice, arguing that the country needed serious moral change:

A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say: “This is not just.”

King also opposed the Vietnam War because it took money and resources that could have been spent on social welfare at home. The United States Congress was spending more and more on the military and less and less on anti-poverty programs at the same time. He summed up this aspect by saying, “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.” He stated that North Vietnam “did not begin to send in any large number of supplies or men until American forces had arrived in the tens of thousands”, and accused the U.S. of having killed a million Vietnamese, “mostly children.” King also criticized American opposition to North Vietnam’s land reforms.

King’s opposition cost him significant support among white allies, including President Johnson, Billy Graham, union leaders and powerful publishers. “The press is being stacked against me”, King said, complaining of what he described as a double standard that applauded his nonviolence at home, but deplored it when applied “toward little brown Vietnamese children.” Life magazine called the speech “demagogic slander that sounded like a script for Radio Hanoi”, and The Washington Post declared that King had “diminished his usefulness to his cause, his country, his people.”

Martin_Luther_King_Jr_St_Paul_Campus_U_MN

King speaking to an anti-Vietnam war rally at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul, April 27, 1967

The “Beyond Vietnam” speech reflected King’s evolving political advocacy in his later years, which paralleled the teachings of the progressive Highlander Research and Education Center, with which he was affiliated. King began to speak of the need for fundamental changes in the political and economic life of the nation, and more frequently expressed his opposition to the war and his desire to see a redistribution of resources to correct racial and economic injustice. He guarded his language in public to avoid being linked to communism by his enemies, but in private he sometimes spoke of his support for democratic socialism. In a 1952 letter to Coretta Scott, he said: “I imagine you already know that I am much more socialistic in my economic theory than capitalistic …” In one speech, he stated that “something is wrong with capitalism” and claimed, “There must be a better distribution of wealth, and maybe America must move toward a democratic socialism.” King had read Marx while at Morehouse, but while he rejected “traditional capitalism”, he also rejected communism because of its “materialistic interpretation of history” that denied religion, its “ethical relativism”, and its “political totalitarianism.”

King also stated in “Beyond Vietnam” that “true compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar … it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.” King quoted a United States official who said that from Vietnam to Latin America, the country was “on the wrong side of a world revolution.” King condemned America’s “alliance with the landed gentry of Latin America”, and said that the U.S. should support “the shirtless and barefoot people” in the Third World rather than suppressing their attempts at revolution.

King’s stance on Vietnam encouraged Allard K. Lowenstein, William Sloane Coffin and Norman Thomas, with the support of anti-war Democrats, to attempt to persuade King to run against President Johnson in the 1968 United States presidential election. King contemplated but ultimately decided against the proposal on the grounds that he felt uneasy with politics and considered himself better suited for his morally unambiguous role as an activist.

On April 15, 1967, King participated in and spoke at an anti-war march from New York’s Central Park to the United Nations organized by the Spring Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam and initiated by its chairman, James Bevel. At the U.N. King also brought up issues of civil rights and the draft.

I have not urged a mechanical fusion of the civil rights and peace movements. There are people who have come to see the moral imperative of equality, but who cannot yet see the moral imperative of world brotherhood. I would like to see the fervor of the civil-rights movement imbued into the peace movement to instill it with greater strength. And I believe everyone has a duty to be in both the civil-rights and peace movements. But for those who presently choose but one, I would hope they will finally come to see the moral roots common to both.

Seeing an opportunity to unite civil rights activists and anti-war activists, Bevel convinced King to become even more active in the anti-war effort. Despite his growing public opposition towards the Vietnam War, King was also not fond of the hippie culture which developed from the anti-war movement. In his 1967 Massey Lecture, King stated:

The importance of the hippies is not in their unconventional behavior, but in the fact that hundreds of thousands of young people, in turning to a flight from reality, are expressing a profoundly discrediting view on the society they emerge from.

On January 13, 1968, the day after President Johnson’s State of the Union Address, King called for a large march on Washington against “one of history’s most cruel and senseless wars.”

We need to make clear in this political year, to congressmen on both sides of the aisle and to the president of the United States, that we will no longer tolerate, we will no longer vote for men who continue to see the killings of Vietnamese and Americans as the best way of advancing the goals of freedom and self-determination in Southeast Asia.

Poor People’s Campaign, 1968


800px-Resurrection_City_Washington_D.C._1968

A shantytown was established in Washington, D. C. to protest economic conditions as a part of the Poor People’s Campaign.

In 1968, King and the SCLC organized the “Poor People’s Campaign” to address issues of economic justice. King traveled the country to assemble “a multiracial army of the poor” that would march on Washington to engage in nonviolent civil disobedience at the Capitol until Congress created an “economic bill of rights” for poor Americans.

The campaign was preceded by King’s final book, Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? which laid out his view of how to address social issues and poverty. King quoted from Henry George and George’s book, Progress and Poverty, particularly in support of a guaranteed basic income. The campaign culminated in a march on Washington, D.C., demanding economic aid to the poorest communities of the United States.

King and the SCLC called on the government to invest in rebuilding America’s cities. He felt that Congress had shown “hostility to the poor” by spending “military funds with alacrity and generosity.” He contrasted this with the situation faced by poor Americans, claiming that Congress had merely provided “poverty funds with miserliness.” His vision was for change that was more revolutionary than mere reform: he cited systematic flaws of “racism, poverty, militarism and materialism”, and argued that “reconstruction of society itself is the real issue to be faced.”

The Poor People’s Campaign was controversial even within the civil rights movement. Rustin resigned from the march, stating that the goals of the campaign were too broad, that its demands were unrealizable, and that he thought that these campaigns would accelerate the backlash and repression on the poor and the black.

After King’s Death

The plan to set up a shantytown in Washington, D.C., was carried out soon after the April 4 assassination. Criticism of King’s plan was subdued in the wake of his death, and the SCLC received an unprecedented wave of donations for the purpose of carrying it out. The campaign officially began in Memphis, on May 2, at the hotel where King was murdered.

Thousands of demonstrators arrived on the National Mall and established a camp they called “Resurrection City.” They stayed for six weeks.

Assassination and Aftermath


 

The Lorraine Motel, where King wasMartin_Luther_King_was_shot_here_Small_Web_view assassinated, is now the site of the National Civil Rights Museum.

On March 29, 1968, King went to Memphis, Tennessee, in support of the black sanitary public works employees, who were represented by AFSCME Local 1733. The workers had been on strike since March 12 for higher wages and better treatment. In one incident, black street repairmen received pay for two hours when they were sent home because of bad weather, but white employees were paid for the full day.

On April 3, King addressed a rally and delivered his “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” address at Mason Temple, the world headquarters of the Church of God in Christ. King’s flight to Memphis had been delayed by a bomb threat against his plane. In the close of the last speech of his life, in reference to the bomb threat, King said the following:

And then I got to Memphis. And some began to say the threats, or talk about the threats that were out. What would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers?

Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. So I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.

King was booked in Room 306 at the Lorraine Motel (owned by Walter Bailey) in Memphis. Abernathy, who was present at the assassination, testified to the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations that King and his entourage stayed at Room 306 so often that it was known as the “King-Abernathy suite.” According to Jesse Jackson, who was present, King’s last words on the balcony before his assassination were spoken to musician Ben Branch, who was scheduled to perform that night at an event King was attending: “Ben, make sure you play ‘Take My Hand, Precious Lord’ in the meeting tonight. Play it real pretty.”

King was fatally shot by James Earl Ray at 6:01 p.m., April 4, 1968, as he stood on the motel’s second-floor balcony. The bullet entered through his right cheek, smashing his jaw, then traveled down his spinal cord before lodging in his shoulder. Abernathy heard the shot from inside the motel room and ran to the balcony to find King on the floor. Jackson stated after the shooting that he cradled King’s head as King lay on the balcony, but this account was disputed by other colleagues of King; Jackson later changed his statement to say that he had “reached out” for King.

After emergency chest surgery, King died at St. Joseph’s Hospital at 7:05 p.m. According to biographer Taylor Branch, King’s autopsy revealed that though only 39 years old, he “had the heart of a 60 year old”, which Branch attributed to the stress of 13 years in the civil rights movement.

Aftermath

The assassination led to a nationwide wave of race riots in Washington, D.C., Chicago, Baltimore, Louisville, Kansas City, and dozens of other cities. Presidential candidate Robert F. “Bobby” Kennedy was on his way to Indianapolis for a campaign rally when he was informed of King’s death. He gave a short speech to the gathering of supporters informing them of the tragedy and urging them to continue King’s ideal of nonviolence. James Farmer Jr., and other civil rights leaders also called for non-violent action, while the more militant Stokely Carmichael called for a more forceful response. The city of Memphis quickly settled the strike on terms favorable to the sanitation workers.

President Lyndon B. Johnson declared April 7 a national day of mourning for the civil rights leader. Vice President Hubert Humphrey attended King’s funeral on behalf of the President, as there were fears that Johnson’s presence might incite protests and perhaps violence. At his widow’s request, King’s last sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church was played at the funeral, a recording of his “Drum Major” sermon, given on February 4, 1968. In that sermon, King made a request that at his funeral no mention of his awards and honors be made, but that it be said that he tried to “feed the hungry”, “clothe the naked”, “be right on the [Vietnam] war question”, and “love and serve humanity.”

MahaliaJackson1964

King’s friend Mahalia Jackson (seen here in 1964) sang at his funeral.

His good friend Mahalia Jackson sang his favorite hymn, “Take My Hand, Precious Lord”, at the funeral.

Two months after King’s death, escaped convict James Earl Ray was captured at London Heathrow Airport while trying to leave the United Kingdom on a false Canadian passport in the name of Ramon George Sneyd on his way to white-ruled Rhodesia. Ray was quickly extradited to Tennessee and charged with King’s murder. He confessed to the assassination on March 10, 1969, though he recanted this confession three days later. On the advice of his attorney Percy Foreman, Ray pleaded guilty to avoid a trial conviction and thus the possibility of receiving the death penalty. He was sentenced to a 99-year prison term. Ray later claimed a man he met in Montreal, Quebec, with the alias “Raoul” was involved and that the assassination was the result of a conspiracy. He spent the remainder of his life attempting, unsuccessfully, to withdraw his guilty plea and secure the trial he never had.

Allegations of Conspiracy

Ray’s lawyers maintained he was a scapegoat similar to the way that John F. Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald is seen by conspiracy theorists. Supporters of this assertion said that Ray’s confession was given under pressure and that he had been threatened with the death penalty. They admitted that Ray was a thief and burglar, but claimed that he had no record of committing violent crimes with a weapon. However, prison records in different U.S. cities have shown that he was incarcerated on numerous occasions for charges of armed robbery. In a 2008 interview with CNN, Jerry Ray, the younger brother of James Earl Ray, claimed that James was smart and was sometimes able to get away with armed robbery. Jerry Ray said that he had assisted his brother on one such robbery. “I never been with nobody as bold as he is,” Jerry said. “He just walked in and put that gun on somebody, it was just like it’s an everyday thing.”

Those suspecting a conspiracy in the assassination point to the two successive ballistics tests which proved that a rifle similar to Ray’s Remington Gamemaster had been the murder weapon. Those tests did not implicate Ray’s specific rifle. Witnesses near King at the moment of his death said that the shot came from another location. They said that it came from behind thick shrubbery near the boarding house—which had been cut away in the days following the assassination—and not from the boarding house window. However, Ray’s fingerprints were found on various objects (a rifle, a pair of binoculars, articles of clothing, a newspaper) that were left in the bathroom where it was determined the gunfire came from. An examination of the rifle containing Ray’s fingerprints also determined that at least one shot was fired from the firearm at the time of the assassination.

Martin_Luther_King_Jr_Coretta_Scott_King_Tomb

Martin Luther King and Coretta Scott King’s sarcophagus, located on the grounds of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta, Georgia

In 1997, King’s son Dexter Scott King met with Ray, and publicly supported Ray’s efforts to obtain a new trial.

Two years later, Coretta Scott King, King’s widow, along with the rest of King’s family, won a wrongful death claim against Loyd Jowers and “other unknown co-conspirators.” Jowers claimed to have received $100,000 to arrange King’s assassination. The jury of six whites and six blacks found in favor of the King family, finding Jowers to be complicit in a conspiracy against King and that government agencies were party to the assassination. William F. Pepper represented the King family in the trial.

In 2000, the U.S. Department of Justice completed the investigation into Jowers’ claims but did not find evidence to support allegations about conspiracy. The investigation report recommended no further investigation unless some new reliable facts are presented. A sister of Jowers admitted that he had fabricated the story so he could make $300,000 from selling the story, and she in turn corroborated his story in order to get some money to pay her income tax.

In 2002, The New York Times reported that a church minister, Rev. Ronald Denton Wilson, claimed his father, Henry Clay Wilson—not James Earl Ray—assassinated King. He stated, “It wasn’t a racist thing; he thought Martin Luther King was connected with communism, and he wanted to get him out of the way.” Wilson provided no evidence to back up his claims.

King researchers David Garrow and Gerald Posner disagreed with William F. Pepper’s claims that the government killed King. In 2003, Pepper published a book about the long investigation and trial, as well as his representation of James Earl Ray in his bid for a trial, laying out the evidence and criticizing other accounts. King’s friend and colleague, James Bevel, also disputed the argument that Ray acted alone, stating, “There is no way a ten-cent white boy could develop a plan to kill a million-dollar black man.” In 2004, Jesse Jackson stated:

The fact is there were saboteurs to disrupt the march. And within our own organization, we found a very key person who was on the government payroll. So infiltration within, saboteurs from without and the press attacks. … I will never believe that James Earl Ray had the motive, the money and the mobility to have done it himself. Our government was very involved in setting the stage for and I think the escape route for James Earl Ray.

Legacy


Lyndon_Johnson_signing_Civil_Rights_Act,_July_2,_1964

President Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Among the guests behind him is Martin Luther King.

260px-Martin_Luther_King_memorial_Westminster_Abbey

Martin Luther King Jr. statue over the west entrance of Westminster Abbey, installed in 1998

800px-'Today_capitalism_has_outlived_its_usefulness'_MLK

Protesters at the 2012 Republican National Convention display King’s words and image on a banner.

King’s main legacy was to secure progress on civil rights in the U.S. Just days after King’s assassination, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1968. Title VIII of the Act, commonly known as the Fair Housing Act, prohibited discrimination in housing and housing-related transactions on the basis of race, religion, or national origin (later expanded to include sex, familial status, and disability). This legislation was seen as a tribute to King’s struggle in his final years to combat residential discrimination in the U.S.

Internationally, King’s legacy includes influences on the Black Consciousness Movement and civil rights movement in South Africa. King’s work was cited by and served as an inspiration for South African leader Albert Lutuli, who fought for racial justice in his country and was later awarded the Nobel Prize. The day following King’s assassination, school teacher Jane Elliott conducted her first “Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes” exercise with her class of elementary school students in Riceville, Iowa. Her purpose was to help them understand King’s death as it related to racism, something they little understood as they lived in a predominantly white community. King has become a national icon in the history of American liberalism and American progressivism. King also influenced Irish politician and activist John Hume. Hume, the former leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party, cited King’s legacy as quintessential to the Northern Irish civil rights movement and the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, calling him “one of my great heroes of the century.”

King’s wife, Coretta Scott King, followed in her husband’s footsteps and was active in matters of social justice and civil rights until her death in 2006. The same year that Martin Luther King was assassinated, she established the King Center in Atlanta, Georgia, dedicated to preserving his legacy and the work of championing nonviolent conflict resolution and tolerance worldwide. Their son, Dexter King, serves as the center’s chairman. Daughter Yolanda King, who died in 2007, was a motivational speaker, author and founder of Higher Ground Productions, an organization specializing in diversity training.

Even within the King family, members disagree about his religious and political views about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. King’s widow Coretta said publicly that she believed her husband would have supported gay rights. However, his youngest child, Bernice King, has said publicly that he would have been opposed to gay marriage.

On February 4, 1968, at the Ebenezer Baptist Church, in speaking about how he wished to be remembered after his death, King stated:

I’d like somebody to mention that day that Martin Luther King Jr. tried to give his life serving others. I’d like for somebody to say that day that Martin Luther King Jr. tried to love somebody.

I want you to say that day that I tried to be right on the war question. I want you to be able to say that day that I did try to feed the hungry. I want you to be able to say that day that I did try in my life to clothe those who were naked. I want you to say on that day that I did try in my life to visit those who were in prison. And I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity.

Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major. Say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter. I won’t have any money to leave behind. I won’t have the fine and luxurious things of life to leave behind. But I just want to leave a committed life behind.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Beginning in 1971, cities such as St. Louis, Missouri, and states established annual holidays to honor King. At the White House Rose Garden on November 2, 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill creating a federal holiday to honor King. Observed for the first time on January 20, 1986, it is called Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Following President George H. W. Bush’s 1992 proclamation, the holiday is observed on the third Monday of January each year, near the time of King’s birthday. On January 17, 2000, for the first time, Martin Luther King Jr. Day was officially observed in all fifty U.S. states. Arizona (1992), New Hampshire (1999) and Utah (2000) were the last three states to recognize the holiday. Utah previously celebrated the holiday at the same time but under the name Human Rights Day.

Liturgical Commemorations

King is remembered as a martyr by the Episcopal Church in the United States of America with an annual feast day on the anniversary of his death, April 4. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America commemorates King liturgically on the anniversary of his birth, January 15.

UK legacy and The Martin Luther King Peace Committee

In the United Kingdom, The Northumbria and Newcastle Universities Martin Luther King Peace Committee exists to honour King’s legacy, as represented by his final visit to the UK to receive an honorary degree from Newcastle University in 1967. The Peace Committee operates out of the chaplaincies of the city’s two universities, Northumbria and Newcastle, both of which remain centres for the study of Martin Luther King and the US civil rights movement. Inspired by King’s vision, it undertakes a range of activities across the UK as it seeks to “build cultures of peace.”

Ideas, Influences, and Political Stances


Religion

As a Christian minister, King’s main influence was Jesus Christ and the Christian gospels, which he would almost always quote in his religious meetings, speeches at church, and in public discourses. King’s faith was strongly based in Jesus’ commandment of loving your neighbor as yourself, loving God above all, and loving your enemies, praying for them and blessing them. His nonviolent thought was also based in the injunction to turn the other cheek in the Sermon on the Mount, and Jesus’ teaching of putting the sword back into its place (Matthew 26:52). In his famous Letter from Birmingham Jail, King urged action consistent with what he describes as Jesus’ “extremist” love, and also quoted numerous other Christian pacifist authors, which was very usual for him. In another sermon, he stated:

Before I was a civil rights leader, I was a preacher of the Gospel. This was my first calling and it still remains my greatest commitment. You know, actually all that I do in civil rights I do because I consider it a part of my ministry. I have no other ambitions in life but to achieve excellence in the Christian ministry. I don’t plan to run for any political office. I don’t plan to do anything but remain a preacher. And what I’m doing in this struggle, along with many others, grows out of my feeling that the preacher must be concerned about the whole man.

In his speech “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop”, he stated that he just wanted to do God’s will.

Nonviolence

756px-Civil_Rights_March_on_Washington,_D.C._(Dr._Martin_Luther_King,_Jr._and_Mathew_Ahmann_in_a_crowd.)_-_NARA_-_542015_-_Restoration

King at the 1963 Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C.

509px-BayardRustinAug1963-LibraryOfCongress_crop

King worked alongside Quakers such as Bayard Rustin to develop non-violent tactics.

Veteran African-American civil rights activist Bayard Rustin was King’s first regular advisor on nonviolence. King was also advised by the white activists Harris Wofford and Glenn Smiley. Rustin and Smiley came from the Christian pacifist tradition, and Wofford and Rustin both studied Gandhi’s teachings. Rustin had applied nonviolence with the Journey of Reconciliation campaign in the 1940s, and Wofford had been promoting Gandhism to Southern blacks since the early 1950s. King had initially known little about Gandhi and rarely used the term “nonviolence” during his early years of activism in the early 1950s. King initially believed in and practiced self-defense, even obtaining guns in his household as a means of defense against possible attackers. The pacifists guided King by showing him the alternative of nonviolent resistance, arguing that this would be a better means to accomplish his goals of civil rights than self-defense. King then vowed to no longer personally use arms.

In the aftermath of the boycott, King wrote Stride Toward Freedom, which included the chapter Pilgrimage to Nonviolence. King outlined his understanding of nonviolence, which seeks to win an opponent to friendship, rather than to humiliate or defeat him. The chapter draws from an address by Wofford, with Rustin and Stanley Levison also providing guidance and ghostwriting.

King was inspired by Mahatma Gandhi and his success with nonviolent activism, and as a theology student, King described Gandhi as being one of the “individuals who greatly reveal the working of the Spirit of God”. King had “for a long time … wanted to take a trip to India.” With assistance from Harris Wofford, the American Friends Service Committee, and other supporters, he was able to fund the journey in April 1959. The trip to India affected King, deepening his understanding of nonviolent resistance and his commitment to America’s struggle for civil rights. In a radio address made during his final evening in India, King reflected, “Since being in India, I am more convinced than ever before that the method of nonviolent resistance is the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for justice and human dignity.”

Bayard Rustin’s open homosexuality, support of democratic socialism, and his former ties to the Communist Party USA caused many white and African-American leaders to demand King distance himself from Rustin, which King agreed to do. However, King agreed that Rustin should be one of the main organizers of the 1963 March on Washington.

King’s admiration of Gandhi’s nonviolence did not diminish in later years. He went so far as to hold up his example when receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, hailing the “successful precedent” of using nonviolence “in a magnificent way by Mohandas K. Gandhi to challenge the might of the British Empire … He struggled only with the weapons of truth, soul force, non-injury and courage.”

Gandhi seemed to have influenced him with certain moral principles, though Gandhi himself had been influenced by The Kingdom of God Is Within You, a nonviolent classic written by Christian anarchist Leo Tolstoy. In turn, both Gandhi and Martin Luther King had read Tolstoy, and King, Gandhi and Tolstoy had been strongly influenced by Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. King quoted Tolstoy’s War and Peace in 1959.

Another influence for King’s nonviolent method was Henry David Thoreau’s essay On Civil Disobedience, which King read in his student days. He was influenced by the idea of refusing to cooperate with an evil system. He also was greatly influenced by the works of Protestant theologians Reinhold Niebuhr and Paul Tillich, as well as Walter Rauschenbusch’s Christianity and the Social Crisis. King also sometimes used the concept of “agape” (brotherly Christian love). However, after 1960, he ceased employing it in his writings.

Even after renouncing his personal use of guns, King had a complex relationship with the phenomenon of self-defense in the movement. He publicly discouraged it as a widespread practice, but acknowledged that it was sometimes necessary. Throughout his career King was frequently protected by other civil rights activists who carried arms, such as Colonel Stone Johnson, Robert Hayling, and the Deacons for Defense and Justice.

Politics

As the leader of the SCLC, King maintained a policy of not publicly endorsing a U.S. political party or candidate: “I feel someone must remain in the position of non-alignment, so that he can look objectively at both parties and be the conscience of both—not the servant or master of either.” In a 1958 interview, he expressed his view that neither party was perfect, saying, “I don’t think the Republican party is a party full of the almighty God nor is the Democratic party. They both have weaknesses … And I’m not inextricably bound to either party.” King did praise Democratic Senator Paul Douglas of Illinois as being the “greatest of all senators” because of his fierce advocacy for civil rights causes over the years.

King critiqued both parties’ performance on promoting racial equality:

Actually, the Negro has been betrayed by both the Republican and the Democratic party. The Democrats have betrayed him by capitulating to the whims and caprices of the Southern Dixiecrats. The Republicans have betrayed him by capitulating to the blatant hypocrisy of reactionary right wing northern Republicans. And this coalition of southern Dixiecrats and right wing reactionary northern Republicans defeats every bill and every move towards liberal legislation in the area of civil rights.

Although King never publicly supported a political party or candidate for president, in a letter to a civil rights supporter in October 1956 he said that he was undecided as to whether he would vote for Adlai Stevenson or Dwight Eisenhower, but that “In the past I always voted the Democratic ticket.” In his autobiography, King says that in 1960 he privately voted for Democratic candidate John F. Kennedy: “I felt that Kennedy would make the best president. I never came out with an endorsement. My father did, but I never made one.” King adds that he likely would have made an exception to his non-endorsement policy for a second Kennedy term, saying “Had President Kennedy lived, I would probably have endorsed him in 1964.” In 1964, King urged his supporters “and all people of goodwill” to vote against Republican Senator Barry Goldwater for president, saying that his election “would be a tragedy, and certainly suicidal almost, for the nation and the world.” King supported the ideals of democratic socialism, although he was reluctant to speak directly of this support due to the anti-communist sentiment being projected throughout the United States at the time, and the association of socialism with communism. King believed that capitalism could not adequately provide the basic necessities of many American people, particularly the African-American community.

Compensation

King stated that black Americans, as well as other disadvantaged Americans, should be compensated for historical wrongs. In an interview conducted for Playboy in 1965, he said that granting black Americans only equality could not realistically close the economic gap between them and whites. King said that he did not seek a full restitution of wages lost to slavery, which he believed impossible, but proposed a government compensatory program of $50 billion over ten years to all disadvantaged groups.

He posited that “the money spent would be more than amply justified by the benefits that would accrue to the nation through a spectacular decline in school dropouts, family breakups, crime rates, illegitimacy, swollen relief rolls, rioting and other social evils.” He presented this idea as an application of the common law regarding settlement of unpaid labor, but clarified that he felt that the money should not be spent exclusively on blacks. He stated, “It should benefit the disadvantaged of all races.”

Family Planning

On being awarded the Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Margaret Sanger Award on 5th May, 1966, King said:

Recently, the press has been filled with reports of sightings of flying saucers. While we need not give credence to these stories, they allow our imagination to speculate on how visitors from outer space would judge us. I am afraid they would be stupefied at our conduct. They would observe that for death planning we spend billions to create engines and strategies for war. They would also observe that we spend millions to prevent death by disease and other causes. Finally they would observe that we spend paltry sums for population planning, even though its spontaneous growth is an urgent threat to life on our planet. Our visitors from outer space could be forgiven if they reported home that our planet is inhabited by a race of insane men whose future is bleak and uncertain.
There is no human circumstance more tragic than the persisting existence of a harmful condition for which a remedy is readily available. Family planning, to relate population to world resources, is possible, practical and necessary. Unlike plagues of the dark ages or contemporary diseases we do not yet understand, the modern plague of overpopulation is soluble by means we have discovered and with resources we possess.
What is lacking is not sufficient knowledge of the solution but universal consciousness of the gravity of the problem and education of the billions who are its victims…

FBI and King’s Personal Life


FBI_PPC_1.pdf

An internal memo from the FBI attempting to disrupt the Poor People’s Campaign with fraudulent claims about King—it was part of the larger COINTELPRO campaign against the anti-war and civil rights movements

FBI surveillance and wiretapping

FBI director J. Edgar Hoover personally ordered surveillance of King, with the intent to undermine his power as a civil rights leader. According to the Church Committee, a 1975 investigation by the U.S. Congress, “From December 1963 until his death in 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was the target of an intensive campaign by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to ‘neutralize’ him as an effective civil rights leader.”

The Bureau received authorization to proceed with wiretapping from Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy in the fall of 1963 and informed President John F. Kennedy, both of whom unsuccessfully tried to persuade King to dissociate himself from Stanley Levison, a New York lawyer who had been involved with Communist Party USA. Although Robert Kennedy only gave written approval for limited wiretapping of King’s phones “on a trial basis, for a month or so”, Hoover extended the clearance so his men were “unshackled” to look for evidence in any areas of King’s life they deemed worthy. The Bureau placed wiretaps on Levison’s and King’s home and office phones, and bugged King’s rooms in hotels as he traveled across the country. In 1967, Hoover listed the SCLC as a black nationalist hate group, with the instructions: “No opportunity should be missed to exploit through counterintelligence techniques the organizational and personal conflicts of the leaderships of the groups … to insure the targeted group is disrupted, ridiculed, or discredited.”

NSA monitoring of King’s communications

In a secret operation code-named “Minaret”, the National Security Agency (NSA) monitored the communications of leading Americans, including King, who criticized the U.S. war in Vietnam. A review by the NSA itself concluded that Minaret was “disreputable if not outright illegal.”

Allegations of communism

]For years, Hoover had been suspicious about potential influence of communists in social movements such as labor unions and civil rights. Hoover directed the FBI to track King in 1957, and the SCLC as it was established (it did not have a full-time executive director until 1960). The investigations were largely superficial until 1962, when the FBI learned that one of King’s most trusted advisers was New York City lawyer Stanley Levison.

The FBI feared Levison was working as an “agent of influence” over King, in spite of its own reports in 1963 that Levison had left the Party and was no longer associated in business dealings with them. Another King lieutenant, Hunter Pitts O’Dell, was also linked to the Communist Party by sworn testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). However, by 1976 the FBI had acknowledged that it had not obtained any evidence that King himself or the SCLC were actually involved with any communist organizations.

For his part, King adamantly denied having any connections to communism, stating in a 1965 Playboy interview that “there are as many Communists in this freedom movement as there are Eskimos in Florida.” He argued that Hoover was “following the path of appeasement of political powers in the South” and that his concern for communist infiltration of the civil rights movement was meant to “aid and abet the salacious claims of southern racists and the extreme right-wing elements.” Hoover did not believe King’s pledge of innocence and replied by saying that King was “the most notorious liar in the country.” After King gave his “I Have A Dream” speech during the March on Washington on August 28, 1963, the FBI described King as “the most dangerous and effective Negro leader in the country.” It alleged that he was “knowingly, willingly and regularly cooperating with and taking guidance from communists.”

The attempt to prove that King was a communist was related to the feeling of many segregationists that blacks in the South were happy with their lot but had been stirred up by “communists” and “outside agitators.” However, the 1950s and ’60s civil rights movement arose from activism within the black community dating back to before World War I. King said that “the Negro revolution is a genuine revolution, born from the same womb that produces all massive social upheavals—the womb of intolerable conditions and unendurable situations.”

CIA surveillance

CIA files declassified in 2017 revealed that the agency was investigating possible links between King and Communism after a Washington Post article dated November 4, 1964 claimed he was invited to the Soviet Union and that Ralph Abernathy, spokesman for subject, refused to comment on the source of the invitation.

Adultery

547px-MLK_and_Malcolm_X_USNWR_cropped

King and Malcolm X, March 26, 1964

Having concluded that King was dangerous due to communist infiltration, the FBI shifted to attempting to discredit King through revelations regarding his private life. FBI surveillance of King, some of it since made public, attempted to demonstrate that he also engaged in numerous extramarital affairs. Lyndon Johnson once said that King was a “hypocritical preacher.”

Ralph Abernathy stated in his 1989 autobiography And the Walls Came Tumbling Down that King had a “weakness for women”, although they “all understood and believed in the biblical prohibition against sex outside of marriage. It was just that he had a particularly difficult time with that temptation.” In a later interview, Abernathy said that he only wrote the term “womanizing”, that he did not specifically say King had extramarital sex and that the infidelities King had were emotional rather than sexual. Abernathy criticized the media for sensationalizing the statements he wrote about King’s affairs, such as the allegation that he admitted in his book that King had a sexual affair the night before he was assassinated. In his original wording, Abernathy had claimed he saw King coming out of his room with a lady when he awoke the next morning and later claimed that “he may have been in there discussing and debating and trying to get her to go along with the movement, I don’t know.”

In his 1986 book Bearing the Cross, David Garrow wrote about a number of extramarital affairs, including one woman King saw almost daily. According to Garrow, “that relationship … increasingly became the emotional centerpiece of King’s life, but it did not eliminate the incidental couplings … of King’s travels.” He alleged that King explained his extramarital affairs as “a form of anxiety reduction.” Garrow asserted that King’s supposed promiscuity caused him “painful and at times overwhelming guilt.” King’s wife Coretta appeared to have accepted his affairs with equanimity, saying once that “all that other business just doesn’t have a place in the very high level relationship we enjoyed.” Shortly after Bearing the Cross was released, civil rights author Howell Raines gave the book a positive review but opined that Garrow’s allegations about King’s sex life were “sensational” and stated that Garrow was “amassing facts rather than analyzing them.”

The FBI distributed reports regarding such affairs to the executive branch, friendly reporters, potential coalition partners and funding sources of the SCLC, and King’s family. The bureau also sent anonymous letters to King threatening to reveal information if he did not cease his civil rights work. The FBI–King suicide letter sent to King just before he received the Nobel Peace Prize read, in part:

Mlk-uncovered-letter

The FBI–King suicide letter,] mailed anonymously by the FBI

The American public, the church organizations that have been helping—Protestants, Catholics and Jews will know you for what you are—an evil beast. So will others who have backed you. You are done. King, there is only one thing left for you to do. You know what it is. You have just 34 days in which to do (this exact number has been selected for a specific reason, it has definite practical significant ). You are done. There is but one way out for you. You better take it before your filthy fraudulent self is bared to the nation.

A tape recording of several of King’s extramarital liaisons, excerpted from FBI wiretaps, accompanied the letter. King interpreted this package as an attempt to drive him to suicide, although William Sullivan, head of the Domestic Intelligence Division at the time, argued that it may have only been intended to “convince Dr. King to resign from the SCLC.” King refused to give in to the FBI’s threats.

In 1977, Judge John Lewis Smith Jr. ordered all known copies of the recorded audiotapes and written transcripts resulting from the FBI’s electronic surveillance of King between 1963 and 1968 to be held in the National Archives and sealed from public access until 2027.

Police observation during the assassination

A fire station was located across from the Lorraine Motel, next to the boarding house in which James Earl Ray was staying. Police officers were stationed in the fire station to keep King under surveillance. Agents were watching King at the time he was shot. Immediately following the shooting, officers rushed out of the station to the motel. Marrell McCollough, an undercover police officer, was the first person to administer first aid to King. The antagonism between King and the FBI, the lack of an all points bulletin to find the killer, and the police presence nearby led to speculation that the FBI was involved in the assassination.

Awards and Recognition


Martin_Luther_King_Jr_with_medallion_NYWTS

King showing his medallion, which he received from Mayor Wagner

KellyIngramMLKStatue

Statue of King in Birmingham’s Kelly Ingram Park

Dexter_Avenue_Baptist

Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, where King ministered, was renamed Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church in 1978.

King was awarded at least fifty honorary degrees from colleges and universities. On October 14, 1964, King became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, which was awarded to him for leading nonviolent resistance to racial prejudice in the U.S. In 1965, he was awarded the American Liberties Medallion by the American Jewish Committee for his “exceptional advancement of the principles of human liberty.” In his acceptance remarks, King said, “Freedom is one thing. You have it all or you are not free.”

In 1957, he was awarded the Spingarn Medal from the NAACP. Two years later, he won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for his book Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story. In 1966, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America awarded King the Margaret Sanger Award for “his courageous resistance to bigotry and his lifelong dedication to the advancement of social justice and human dignity.” Also in 1966, King was elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In November 1967 he made a 24-hour trip to the United Kingdom to receive an honorary degree from Newcastle University, being the first African-American to be so honoured by Newcastle. In a moving impromptu acceptance speech, he said

There are three urgent and indeed great problems that we face not only in the United States of America but all over the world today. That is the problem of racism, the problem of poverty and the problem of war.

In 1971 he was posthumously awarded a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album for his Why I Oppose the War in Vietnam.

In 1977, the Presidential Medal of Freedom was posthumously awarded to King by President Jimmy Carter. The citation read:

Martin Luther King Jr. was the conscience of his generation. He gazed upon the great wall of segregation and saw that the power of love could bring it down. From the pain and exhaustion of his fight to fulfill the promises of our founding fathers for our humblest citizens, he wrung his eloquent statement of his dream for America. He made our nation stronger because he made it better. His dream sustains us yet.

King and his wife were also awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2004.

King was second in Gallup’s List of Most Widely Admired People of the 20th Century. In 1963, he was named Time Person of the Year, and in 2000, he was voted sixth in an online “Person of the Century” poll by the same magazine. King placed third in the Greatest American contest conducted by the Discovery Channel and AOL.

Five-dollar Bill

On April 20, 2016, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew announced that the $5, $10, and $20 bills would all undergo redesign prior to 2020. Lew said that while Lincoln would remain on the obverse of the $5 bill, the reverse would be redesigned to depict various historical events that had occurred at the Lincoln Memorial. Among the planned designs are images from King’s “I Have a Dream” speech and the 1939 concert by opera singer Marian Anderson.

Works


  • Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story (1958) ISBN 978-0-06-250490-6
  • The Measure of a Man (1959) ISBN 978-0-8006-0877-4
  • Strength to Love (1963) ISBN 978-0-8006-9740-2
  • Why We Can’t Wait (1964) ISBN 978-0-8070-0112-7
  • Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? (1967) ISBN 978-0-8070-0571-2
  • The Trumpet of Conscience (1968) ISBN 978-0-8070-0170-7
  • A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King Jr. (1986) ISBN 978-0-06-250931-4
  • The Autobiography of Martin Luther King Jr. (1998), ed. Clayborne Carson ISBN 978-0-446-67650-2
  • “All Labor Has Dignity” (2011) ed. Michael Honey ISBN 978-0-8070-8600-1
  • “Thou, Dear God”: Prayers That Open Hearts and Spirits Collection of King’s prayers. (2011), ed. Lewis Baldwin ISBN 978-0-8070-8603-2
  • MLK: A Celebration in Word and Image Photographed by Bob Adelman, introduced by Charles Johnson ISBN 978-0-8070-0316-9

New San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge opens at last

New San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge opens at last to replace the one damaged in 1989 earthquake after 12 YEARS of construction

  • The $6.4 billion bridge is designed to withstand the strongest earthquake estimated by seismologists to occur at the site over a 1,500-year period
  • The new span replaces a structure that was damaged during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake
  • Officers led a line of drivers across the bridge at about 10:15 p.m. Monday, some seven hours before the planned 5 a.m. Tuesday opening
  • After years of delays and cost overruns, the opening of one of the state’s most expensive public works projects was marked with a relatively low-key event that did not even include the governor

By Associated Press Reporter
PUBLISHED: 16:06 GMT, 3 September 2013 | UPDATED: 23:33 GMT, 3 September 2013

photo-2

The new $6.4billion eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge has been opened to traffic after years of delays and cost overruns, carrying its first drivers across the bay late Monday night just hours before the beginning of the work week.

The reopening came after the California Highway Patrol conducted a final security check and toll takers resumed their positions following a five-day closure as crews completed striping, railing and other final details on the new gleaming white span.

Cars began lining up hours earlier in an attempt to be among the first on the new span, and CHP officers led a line of drivers across at about 10:15 p.m., some seven hours before the 5 a.m. Tuesday reopening that was estimated before the closure.

article-2409952-1B983782000005DC-865_964x1300

A group of police officers cross the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge after leading a procession marking the east span’s opening, in San Francisco on Sept. 2

article-2409952-1B97A6C4000005DC-135_964x626

Police motorcycles ride across the new eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge on September 2. The span took nearly 12 years to build

article-2409952-1B97A6C0000005DC-626_964x665

At a modest inaugural ceremony, the new, self-anchored suspension bridge with its looming, single white tower was praised as a dramatic safety upgrade over its predecessor and a beautiful example of public art

article-2409952-1B97D4ED000005DC-688_964x632

The new eastern span (left) of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay bridge stands next to the older span (right). San Francisco Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom cut a chain with a blow torch to mark the opening

article-2409952-1B9AE76E000005DC-76_964x640

Open road: Traffic flows across the new eastern span of the San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge on Tuesday

At a modest inaugural ceremony, the new, self-anchored suspension bridge with its looming, single white tower was praised as a dramatic safety upgrade over its predecessor and a beautiful example of public art.

‘I hope this is more than just connecting two land masses,’ said Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom. ‘I hope that the progress that’s being represented at this moment is for a generation to dream big dreams and to do big things.’US grandmother Diana Nyad, 64, tells how she pushed through…

Newsom, the former mayor of San Francisco, cut a chain with a blow torch to mark the opening after leading those gathered around the bridge’s toll plaza in a countdown to the reopening.

There was no public celebration with tens of thousands of pedestrians and fireworks as originally planned. Instead, after years of delays and cost overruns, the opening of one of the state’s most expensive public works projects was marked with a relatively low-key event that did not even include the governor.

The new span replaces a structure that was damaged during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. It is designed to withstand the strongest earthquake estimated by seismologists to occur at the site over a 1,500-year period.

article-2409952-1B97EC17000005DC-988_964x640

The largest self-anchored suspension bridge in the world opened before Tuesday morning’s rush hour across San Francisco Bay, six years behind schedule and five times over budget

article-2409952-1B97E166000005DC-353_964x496

The new eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay bridge is illuminated. The new section of bridge has been under construction for nearly 12 years and follows years of political bickering, engineering challenges and cost overruns

article-2409952-1B97E99B000005DC-903_964x641

Vehicles drive on the new eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay bridge in San Francisco, California on September 2, 2013

‘Despite the journey’s length, it has been completed before the arrival of our next big earthquake,’ said Steve Heminger, executive director of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. ‘And thank goodness for that.’

Heminger was among numerous officials who spoke at the event, which included a poem about the bridge by California’s poet laureate, Juan Felipe Herrera.

‘(This project) has at times inspired me, challenged me, frustrated me and today, after seeing the final product, it impresses me with its beauty, its grace and its strength,’ said Brian Kelly, who heads the state’s Business, Transportation & Housing Agency.

Gov. Jerry Brown, who was closely involved in planning the bridge when he was mayor of Oakland, was out of town and unable to attend the ceremony, said his spokesman, Evan Westrup.

The entire bridge closed Wednesday night so crews could do final work, and they were still striping, putting up signs and putting down roadway markers Monday, said bridge spokesman Andrew Gordon. Some barrier railing also needed to be installed.

The new section of bridge has been under construction for almost a decade and follows years of political bickering, engineering challenges and cost overruns.

article-2409952-1B9A8BAB000005DC-376_964x567

This photo shot on October 22, 1989 shows a collapsed portion of the Bay Bridge after the earthquake that rocked northern California

article-2409952-1B99BD0B000005DC-467_964x632

The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge is pictured on October 28, 2009. The span was indefinitely closed after a set of cables snapped

article-2409952-1B99BA25000005DC-483_964x495

Fireboats spray water during ceremonies beside the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge Jan. 29, 2002, as construction was set to begin on the new span of the bridge

article-2409952-1B99BA41000005DC-634_964x634

The western span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge is pictured in April 1984

James Ghielmetti, a member of the California Transportation Commission, said at Monday’s ceremony that the bridge should not have taken so long to go up.

‘California must do a better job going forward on all of our public works projects,’ he said.

In March, more than two dozen rods used to anchor the roadway to important earthquake safety structures cracked after they were tightened. The discovery threatened to delay the bridge’s opening by months.

The bridge will open with a temporary fix for the broken rods while the permanent repair, expected to be completed in December, is being installed.

Transportation officials approved the temporary fix last month and voted to open the bridge as originally planned around the Labor Day weekend.

But Gordon said Monday that there was not enough time for a public celebration.

Plans for such a celebration originally called for a bridge walk with more than 100,000 people, fireworks, a half marathon and a concert.

Opera Snapshot_2017-11-04_210756_www.dailymail.co.uk

Original News

Opera Snapshot_2017-11-04_215345_www.tylin.com

John F. Kennedy

John F. Kennedy 

JohnFK
35th President of the United States
In office
January 20, 1961 – November 22, 1963
Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson
Preceded by Dwight D. Eisenhower
Succeeded by Lyndon B. Johnson
United States Senator from Massachusetts
In office
January 3, 1953 – December 22, 1960
Preceded by Henry Cabot Lodge
Succeeded by Benjamin Smith
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts’s 11th District
In office
January 3, 1947 – January 3, 1953
Preceded by James Curley
Succeeded by Tip O’Neill
Personal Details
Born John Fitzgerald Kennedy
May 29, 1917
Brookline, Massachusetts, U.S.
Died November 22, 1963 (aged 46)
Dallas, Texas, U.S.
Resting place Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington, Virginia
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Jacqueline Bouvier
Relations Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. (father)
Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy (mother)
Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. (brother)
Rosemary Kennedy (sister)
Kathleen Agnes Kennedy (sister)
Eunice Kennedy (sister)
Patricia Kennedy (sister)
Robert F. Kennedy (brother)
Jean Kennedy (sister)
Edward Moore Kennedy (brother)
Children
  • Arabella (1956 stillborn)
  • Caroline B. (b. 1957)
  • John F., Jr. (1960–1999)
  • Patrick B. (August 7–9, 1963)
Alma mater Harvard College
Profession Politician
Religion Roman Catholicism
Signature Cursive signature in ink
Military Service
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch  United States Navy
Years of service 1941–1945
Rank US-O3 insignia.svg Lieutenant
Unit Motor Torpedo Boat PT-109
Battles/wars
  • World War II
    • Solomon Islands campaign
Awards
  • Navy and Marine Corps Medal ribbon.svg Navy and Marine Corps Medal
  • Purple Heart BAR.svg Purple Heart
  • American Defense Service ribbon.svg American Defense Service Medal
  • American Campaign Medal ribbon.svg American Campaign Medal
  • Asiatic-Pacific Campaign ribbon.svg Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (3 bronze stars)
  • World War II Victory Medal ribbon.svg World War II Victory Medal

John FitzgeraldJackKennedy (May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963), often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his death in 1963.

After military service as commander of the Motor Torpedo Boats PT-109 and PT-59 during World War II in the South Pacific, Kennedy represented Massachusetts’ 11th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1947 to 1953 as a Democrat. Thereafter, he served in the U.S. Senate from 1953 until 1960. Kennedy defeated Vice President and Republican candidate Richard Nixon in the 1960 U.S. presidential election. At 43 years of age, he is the youngest to have been elected to the office, the second-youngest President (after Theodore Roosevelt), and the first person born in the 20th century to serve as president. A Catholic, Kennedy is the only non-Protestant president, and is the only president to have won a Pulitzer Prize. Events during his presidency included the Bay of Pigs Invasion, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the building of the Berlin Wall, the Space Race, the African-American Civil Rights Movement, and early stages of the Vietnam War. Therein, Kennedy increased the number of military advisers, special operation forces, and helicopters in an effort to curb the spread of communism in South East Asia. The Kennedy administration adopted the policy of the Strategic Hamlet Program which was implemented by the South Vietnamese government. It involved certain forced relocation, village internment, and segregation of rural South Vietnamese from the northern and southern communist insurgents.

Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas. Lee Harvey Oswald was accused of the crime, but he was shot and killed by Jack Ruby two days later, before a trial could take place. The FBI and the Warren Commission officially concluded that Oswald was the lone assassin. However, the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) concluded that those investigations were flawed and that Kennedy was probably assassinated as the result of a conspiracy. Kennedy’s controversial Department of Defense TFX fighter bomber program led to a Congressional investigation that lasted from 1963 to 1970. Since the 1960s information concerning Kennedy’s private life has come to light. Details of Kennedy’s health problems in which he struggled have become better known, especially since the 1990s. Although initially kept secret from the general public, reports of Kennedy’s philandering have garnered much press. Kennedy ranks highly in public opinion ratings of U.S. presidents.

Early Life and Education

John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born at 83 Beals Street in Brookline, Massachusetts on May 29, 1917, the second son of Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr., and Rose Fitzgerald; Rose was the eldest child of John “Honey Fitz” Fitzgerald, a prominent Boston political figure who was the city’s mayor and a three-term member of Congress. Kennedy’s ancestry was predominantly Irish with all eight of his great-grandparents immigrated from Ireland. Kennedy lived in Brookline for ten years and attended Edward Devotion School, Noble and Greenough Lower School, and the Dexter School, through 4th grade. In 1927, the family moved to 5040 Independence Avenue in Riverdale, Bronx, New York City; two years later, they moved to 294 Pondfield Road in Bronxville, New York, where Kennedy was a member of Scout Troop 2. Kennedy spent summers with his family at their home in Hyannisport, Massachusetts, and Christmas and Easter holidays with his family at their winter home in Palm Beach, Florida. For the 5th through 7th grade, Kennedy attended Riverdale Country School, a private school for boys. For 8th grade in September 1930, the 13-year old Kennedy attended Canterbury School in New Milford, Connecticut. In late April 1931, he required an appendectomy, after which he withdrew from Canterbury and recuperated at home.

In September 1931, Kennedy was sent to The Choate School in Wallingford, Connecticut, for his 9th through 12th grade years. His older brother, Joe Jr., had already been at Choate for two years, a football star and leading student. Jack spent his first years at Choate in his brother’s shadow, and compensated for this with rebellious behavior that attracted a coterie. Their most notorious stunt was to explode a toilet seat with a powerful firecracker. In the ensuing chapel assembly, the strict headmaster, George St. John, brandished the toilet seat and spoke of certain “muckers” who would “spit in our sea”. The defiant Jack Kennedy took the cue and named his group “The Muckers Club”, which included roommate and friend Kirk LeMoyne “Lem” Billings. While at Choate, Kennedy was beset by health problems that culminated in 1934 with his emergency hospitalization at Yale – New Haven Hospital. In June 1934 he was admitted to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and diagnosed with colitis. Kennedy graduated from Choate in June 1935. For the school yearbook, of which he had been business manager, Kennedy was voted the “most likely to succeed”.

Kennedy family at Hyannisport in 1931 with Jack at top left in white shirt
Kennedy family at Hyannisport in 1931 with Jack at top left in white shirt

In September 1935, he made his first trip abroad, with his parents and sister Kathleen, to London, with the intent of studying under Harold Laski at the London School of Economics (LSE), as his older brother Joe had done. Ill health forced his return to America in October 1935, when he enrolled late and spent six weeks at Princeton University. He was then hospitalized for observation at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston. He convalesced further at the Kennedy winter home in Palm Beach, then spent the spring of 1936 (along with his older brother Joe) working as a ranch hand on the 40,000 acres (160 km2) “Jay Six” cattle ranch outside Benson, Arizona. It is reported that ranchman Jack Speiden worked both brothers “very hard”.

In September 1936, Kennedy enrolled at Harvard College, where he produced that year’s annual “Freshman Smoker”, called by a reviewer “an elaborate entertainment, which included in its cast outstanding personalities of the radio, screen and sports world”. He tried out for the football, golf, and swim teams and earned a spot on the varsity swim team. In July 1937 Kennedy sailed to France—bringing his convertible—and spent ten weeks driving through Europe with Billings. In June 1938 Kennedy sailed overseas with his father and brother Joe to work with his father, who was then Franklin D. Roosevelt‘s U.S. Ambassador to the Court of St. James’s, at the American embassy in London. In 1939 Kennedy toured Europe, the Soviet Union, the Balkans, and the Middle East in preparation for his Harvard senior honors thesis. He then went to Czechoslovakia and Germany before returning to London on September 1, 1939, the day Germany invaded Poland. On September 3, 1939, the family was in the House of Commons for speeches endorsing the United Kingdom’s declaration of war on Germany. Kennedy was sent as his father’s representative to help with arrangements for American survivors of the SS Athenia, before flying back to the U.S. from Foynes, Ireland, to Port Washington, New York on his first transatlantic flight.

As an upperclassman at Harvard, Kennedy became a more serious student and developed an interest in political philosophy. In his junior year he made the Dean’s List. In 1940 Kennedy completed his thesis, “Appeasement in Munich”, about British participation in the Munich Agreement. The thesis became a bestseller under the title Why England Slept. He graduated from Harvard College with a Bachelor of Science cum laude in international affairs in 1940. Kennedy enrolled and audited classes at the Stanford Graduate School of Business that fall. In early 1941, he helped his father write a memoir of his three years as an American ambassador and then traveled throughout South America.

Military Service

In September 1941, after medical disqualification by the Army for his chronic lower back problems, Kennedy joined the U.S. Navy, with the influence of the director of the Office of Naval Intelligence, former naval attaché to Joseph Kennedy. Kennedy was an ensign serving in the office of the Secretary of the Navy when the attack on Pearl Harbor occurred. He attended the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps and Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron Training Center, was assigned duty in Panama and later in the Pacific theater, where he earned the rank of lieutenant, commanding a patrol torpedo (PT) boat.

PT-109_crew
Lieutenant (junior grade) John F. Kennedy (standing at right) with his PT-109 crew

On August 2, 1943, Kennedy’s boat, PT-109, along with PT-162 and PT-169, were performing nighttime patrols near New Georgia in the Solomon Islands, when PT-109 was rammed by the Japanese destroyer Amagiri. Kennedy gathered his surviving crew members together in the water around the wreckage, to vote on whether to “fight or surrender”. Kennedy stated, “There’s nothing in the book about a situation like this. A lot of you men have families and some of you have children. What do you want to do? I have nothing to lose.” Shunning surrender, the men swam towards a small island. Kennedy, despite re-injury to his back in the collision, towed a badly burned crewman through the water with a life jacket strap clenched between his teeth. He towed the wounded man to the island, and later to a second island, from where his crew was subsequently rescued. For these actions, Kennedy received the Navy and Marine Corps Medal with the following citation:

For extremely heroic conduct as Commanding Officer of Motor Torpedo Boat 109 following the collision and sinking of that vessel in the Pacific War Theater on August 1–2, 1943. Unmindful of personal danger, Lieutenant (then Lieutenant, Junior Grade) Kennedy unhesitatingly braved the difficulties and hazards of darkness to direct rescue operations, swimming many hours to secure aid and food after he had succeeded in getting his crew ashore. His outstanding courage, endurance and leadership contributed to the saving of several lives and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Kennedy on his navy patrol boat, the PT-109
Kennedy on his navy patrol boat, the PT-109

In October 1943, Kennedy took command of a PT boat converted into a gun boat, PT-59, which took part in a Marine rescue on Choiseul Island that November. Kennedy then left PT-59, and returned to the United States in early January 1944. After receiving treatment for his back injury, he was released from active duty in late 1944. Kennedy was honorably discharged in early 1945, just prior to Japan’s surrender. Kennedy’s other decorations in World War II included the Purple Heart, American Defense Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with three bronze service stars, and the World War II Victory Medal. When later asked how he became a war hero, Kennedy joked: “It was easy. They cut my PT boat in half.”

In April 1945, Kennedy’s father, a friend of William Randolph Hearst, arranged a position for his son as a special correspondent for Hearst Newspapers; the assignment kept Kennedy’s name in the public eye and “expose[d] him to journalism as a possible career.” He worked as a correspondent that May, covering the Potsdam Conference and other events.

Congressional Career

House of Representatives

While Kennedy was still serving, his older brother, Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., was killed in action on August 12, 1944, while part of Operation Aphrodite. Since Joe Jr. had been the family’s political standard-bearer, the task now fell to John.

In 1946, U.S. Representative James Michael Curley vacated his seat in the strongly Democratic 11th Congressional district in Massachusetts—at Joe’s urging—to become mayor of Boston. Kennedy ran for the seat, beating his Republican opponent by a large margin. He served as a congressman for six years.

Senate

In the 1952 election, he defeated incumbent Republican Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. for the U.S. Senate seat. The following year he was married to Jacqueline.

John_F._Kennedy_after_spinal_surgery_cph.3c33052
Kennedy lying on a gurney following spinal surgery, accompanied by Jackie, December 1954

Kennedy underwent several spinal operations over the following two years. Often absent from the Senate, he was at times critically ill and received Catholic last rites. During his convalescence in 1956, he published Profiles in Courage, a book about U.S. Senators who risked their careers for their personal beliefs, and which received the Pulitzer Prize for Biography in 1957. Rumors that this work was co-authored by his close adviser and speechwriter, Ted Sorensen, were confirmed in Sorensen’s 2008 autobiography. In the book, Kennedy supported the conservative Southern view that Reconstruction was corrupt.

At the 1956 Democratic National Convention, Kennedy was nominated for Vice President on a ticket with presidential nominee Adlai Stevenson, but finished second in the balloting to Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee. Kennedy received national exposure from that episode; his father thought it just as well that his son lost, due to the political debility of his Catholicism and the strength of the Eisenhower ticket.

One of the matters demanding Kennedy’s attention in the Senate was President Eisenhower’s bill for the Civil Rights Act of 1957. Kennedy cast a procedural vote on this, which was considered by some as an appeasement of Southern Democratic opponents of the bill. Kennedy did vote for Title III of the act, which would have given the Attorney General powers to enjoin, but Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson agreed to let the provision die as a compromise measure. Kennedy also voted for Title IV, termed the “Jury Trial Amendment”. Many civil rights advocates at the time criticized that vote as one which would weaken the act. A final compromise bill, which Kennedy supported, was passed in September 1957. In 1958, Kennedy was re-elected to a second term in the Senate, defeating his Republican opponent, Boston lawyer Vincent J. Celeste, by a wide margin. It was during his re-election campaign that Kennedy’s press secretary at this time Robert E Thompson, put together a film entitled The U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy Story, which exhibited a day in the life of the Senator and showcased his family life as well as the inner-workings of his office. It is the most comprehensive film produced about Kennedy up to that time.

John_F._Kennedy_Jack_Paar_Tonight_Show_1959
Jack Paar interviews Senator Kennedy on The Tonight Show (1959)

Senator Joseph McCarthy was a friend of the Kennedy family; Joseph Kennedy, Sr. was a leading McCarthy supporter, Robert F. Kennedy worked for McCarthy’s subcommittee, and McCarthy dated Patricia Kennedy. In 1954, when the Senate voted to censure McCarthy, Kennedy drafted a speech supporting the censure. The speech was not delivered, because he was in the hospital. Though absent, he could have participated procedurally by “pairing” his vote against that of another senator, but did not do so. He never indicated how he would have voted, but the episode damaged Kennedy’s support among members of the liberal community, including Eleanor Roosevelt, in the 1956 and 1960 elections.

1960 Presidential Election

On January 2, 1960, Kennedy initiated his campaign for President in the Democratic primary election, where he faced challenges from Senator Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota and Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon. Kennedy defeated Humphrey in Wisconsin and West Virginia, Morse in Maryland and Oregon, as well as from token opposition (often write-in candidates) in New Hampshire, Indiana, and Nebraska. Kennedy visited a coal mine in West Virginia; most miners and others in that predominantly conservative, Protestant state were quite wary of Kennedy’s Roman Catholicism. His victory in West Virginia confirmed his broad popular appeal. At the Democratic Convention, he gave his well-known “New Frontier” speech, saying: “For the problems are not all solved and the battles are not all won—and we stand today on the edge of a New Frontier … But the New Frontier of which I speak is not a set of promises—it is a set of challenges. It sums up not what I intend to offer the American people, but what I intend to ask of them.”

800px-Kennedy_Nixon_Debat_(1960)
John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon participate in a 1960 presidential debate.

With Humphrey and Morse eliminated, Kennedy’s main opponent at the Los Angeles convention was Senator Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas. Kennedy overcame this formal challenge as well as informal ones from Adlai Stevenson, the Democratic nominee in 1952 and 1956, Stuart Symington, and several favorite sons, and on July 13 the Democratic convention nominated Kennedy as its candidate. Kennedy asked Johnson to be his Vice Presidential candidate, despite opposition from many liberal delegates and Kennedy’s own staff, including his brother, Robert. He needed Johnson’s strength in the South to win what was considered likely to be the closest election since 1916. Major issues included how to get the economy moving again, Kennedy’s Roman Catholicism, Cuba, and whether the Soviet space and missile programs had surpassed those of the U.S. To address fears that his being Catholic would impact his decision-making, he famously told the Greater Houston Ministerial Association on September 12, 1960, “I am not the Catholic candidate for President. I am the Democratic Party candidate for President who also happens to be a Catholic. I do not speak for my Church on public matters – and the Church does not speak for me.” Kennedy questioned rhetorically whether one-quarter of Americans were relegated to second-class citizenship just because they were Catholic, and once stated that, “No one asked me my religion [serving the Navy] in the South Pacific.”

Jfk-appleton
Jacqueline and John Kennedy campaigning in Appleton, Wisconsin, March 1960

In September and October, Kennedy appeared with Republican candidate Richard Nixon, then Vice President, in the first televised U.S. presidential debates in U.S. history. During these programs, Nixon, with a sore injured leg and his “five o’clock shadow“, looked tense, uncomfortable, and perspiring, while Kennedy, choosing to avail himself of makeup services, appeared relaxed, leading the huge television audience to favor Kennedy as the winner. Radio listeners either thought Nixon had won or that the debates were a draw. The debates are now considered a milestone in American political history—the point at which the medium of television began to play a dominant role in politics.

767px-Eisenhower_and_Kennedy
President Dwight D. Eisenhower meets with President-elect John F. Kennedy on December 6, 1960

Kennedy’s campaign gained momentum after the first debate, and he pulled slightly ahead of Nixon in most polls. On November 8, Kennedy defeated Nixon in one of the closest presidential elections of the 20th century. In the national popular vote Kennedy led Nixon by just two-tenths of one percent (49.7% to 49.5%), while in the Electoral College he won 303 votes to Nixon’s 219 (269 were needed to win). Another 14 electors from Mississippi and Alabama refused to support Kennedy because of his support for the civil rights movement; they voted for Senator Harry F. Byrd of Virginia, as did the elector from Oklahoma. Kennedy was the youngest man elected president, succeeding Eisenhower, who was then the oldest (Ronald Reagan surpassed Eisenhower as the oldest president in 1981).

Presidency

John F. Kennedy was sworn in as the 35th President at noon on January 20, 1961. In his inaugural address he spoke of the need for all Americans to be active citizens, famously saying, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” He asked the nations of the world to join together to fight what he called the “common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself”. He added: “All this will not be finished in the first one hundred days. Nor will it be finished in the first one thousand days, nor in the life of this Administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin.” In closing, he expanded on his desire for greater internationalism: “Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us here the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you.”

John F. Kennedy takes the oath of office administered by Chief Justice Earl Warren on January 20, 1961, at the Capitol
John F. Kennedy takes the oath of office administered by Chief Justice Earl Warren on January 20, 1961, at the Capitol

The address reflected Kennedy’s confidence that his administration would chart a historically significant course in both domestic policy and foreign affairs. The contrast between this optimistic vision and the pressures of managing daily political realities at home and abroad would be one of the main tensions running through the early years of his administration.

We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills; because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win ... It is for these reasons that I regard the decision last year to shift our efforts in space from low to high gear as among the most important decisions that will be made during my incumbency in the office of the Presidency. - JFK, 1962
We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills; because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win …
It is for these reasons that I regard the decision last year to shift our efforts in space from low to high gear as among the most important decisions that will be made during my incumbency in the office of the Presidency. – JFK, 1962

Kennedy brought to the White House a stark contrast in organization compared to the decision making structure of the former general, Eisenhower; and he wasted no time in dismantling Eisenhower’s methods. Kennedy preferred the organizational structure of a wheel, with all the spokes leading to the president. He was ready and willing to make the increased number of quick decisions required in such an environment. He selected a mixture of experienced and inexperienced people to serve in his cabinet. “We can learn our jobs together”, he stated. There were a couple instances where the president got ahead of himself, as when he announced in a cabinet meeting, without prior notice, that Edward Lansdale would be Ambassador to South Vietnam, a decision which Secretary of State Rusk later had Kennedy alter. There was also the case of Harris Wofford, who was summoned to the White House for swearing in without knowing which position he was to assume.

Much to the chagrin of his economic advisors, who wanted him to reduce taxes, he quickly agreed to a balanced budget pledge. This was needed in exchange for votes to expand the membership of the House Rules Committee in order to give the Democrats a majority in setting the legislative agenda. The president focused on immediate and specific issues facing the administration, and quickly voiced his impatience with pondering of deeper meanings. Deputy national security advisor Walt Whitman Rostow once began a diatribe about the growth of communism, and Kennedy abruptly cut him off, asking, “What do you want me to do about that today?”

In May 1961, the press ran articles that Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall had requested an oil executive to solicit $100 contributions at a fund raiser from oil and gasoline interests. Udall demanded that his name that was used on material to solicit funding be withdrawn. A week earlier, Kennedy had proposed that Congress tighten the conflict of interest laws. At a press conference, Kennedy faulted the then current campaign finance laws, rather than Udall. Kennedy stated he had talked with Udall and was satisfied with his explanation. Kennedy stated that anyone who contributed to a campaign fund should not expect any favors in return. Udall denied any wrongdoing and stated that the oil executive misunderstood his intentions.

Foreign policy

Foreign trips of John F. Kennedy during his presidency
Foreign trips of John F. Kennedy during his presidency

President Kennedy’s foreign policy was dominated by American confrontations with the Soviet Union, manifested by proxy contests in the early stage of the Cold War. In 1961, Kennedy anxiously anticipated a summit with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev. The President started off on the wrong foot by reacting aggressively to a routine Khrushchev speech on Cold War confrontation in early 1961. The speech was intended for domestic audiences in the Soviet Union, but Kennedy interpreted it as a personal challenge. His mistake helped raise tensions going into the Vienna Summit of June 1961. On the way to the summit, Kennedy stopped in Paris to meet Charles de Gaulle, who advised Kennedy to ignore Khrushchev’s abrasive style. The French president was nationalistic and disdainful of the United States’ presumed influence in Europe. Nevertheless de Gaulle was quite impressed with the young president and his family. Kennedy picked up on this in his speech in Paris, saying he would be remembered as “the man who accompanied Jackie Kennedy to Paris.”

Persian Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Kennedy, and U.S. Defense Secretary Robert McNamara in the White House Cabinet Room on April 13, 1962
Persian Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Kennedy, and U.S. Defense Secretary Robert McNamara in the White House Cabinet Room on April 13, 1962

On June 4, 1961, the president met with Khrushchev in Vienna and left the meetings angry and disappointed that he had allowed the Premier to bully him, despite the warnings he had received. Khrushchev, for his part, was impressed with the president’s intelligence, but thought him weak. Kennedy did succeed in conveying the bottom line to Khrushchev on the most sensitive issue before them, a proposed treaty between Moscow and East Berlin. He made it clear that any such treaty which interfered with U.S access rights in West Berlin would be regarded as an act of war.

Shortly after the president returned home, the U.S.S.R. announced its intention to sign a treaty with East Berlin, abrogating any third-party occupation rights in either sector of the city. Kennedy, depressed and angry, assumed his only option was to prepare the country for nuclear war, which he personally thought had a one in five chance of occurring.

In the weeks immediately after the Vienna summit, more than 20,000 people fled from East Berlin to the western sector in reaction to statements from the USSR. Kennedy began intensive meetings on the Berlin issue, where Dean Acheson took the lead in recommending a military buildup alongside NATO allies. In a July 1961 speech, Kennedy announced his decision to add $3.25 billion to the defense budget, along with over 200,000 additional troops, saying an attack on West Berlin would be taken as an attack on the U.S. The speech received an 85% approval rating. The following month, the Soviet Union and East Berlin began blocking any further passage of East Berliners into West Berlin and erected barbed wire fences across the city, which were quickly upgraded to the Berlin Wall. Kennedy’s initial reaction was to ignore this, as long as free access from West to East Berlin continued. This course was altered when it was learned that the West Berliners had lost confidence in the defense of their position by the United States. Kennedy sent Vice President Johnson, along with a host of military personnel, in convoy through West Germany, including Soviet armed checkpoints, to demonstrate the continued commitment of the U.S. to West Berlin.

Kennedy gave a speech at Saint Anselm College on May 5, 1960, regarding America’s conduct in the emerging Cold War. The address detailed how American foreign policy should be conducted towards African nations, noting a hint of support for modern African nationalism by saying that “For we, too, founded a new nation on revolt from colonial rule”.

Cuba and the Bay of Pigs Invasion

Pres. Kennedy and Vice Pres. Johnson
Pres. Kennedy and Vice Pres. Johnson

The prior Eisenhower administration had created a plan to overthrow the Fidel Castro regime in Cuba. The plan, led by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) with help from the U.S. military, was for an invasion of Cuba by a counter-revolutionary insurgency composed of U.S.-trained anti-Castro Cuban exiles led by CIA paramilitary officers. The intention was to invade Cuba and instigate an uprising among the Cuban people in hopes of removing Castro from power. On April 17, 1961, Kennedy ordered what became known as the “Bay of Pigs Invasion”: 1,500 U.S.-trained Cubans, called “Brigade 2506”, landed on the island. No U.S. air support was provided. Allen Dulles, director of the CIA, later stated that they thought the president would authorize any action required for success once the troops were on the ground. By April 19, 1961, the Cuban government had captured or killed the invading exiles, and Kennedy was forced to negotiate for the release of the 1,189 survivors. After twenty months, Cuba released the captured exiles in exchange for $53 million worth of food and medicine. The incident made Castro wary of the U.S. and led him to believe another invasion would occur. According to biographer Richard Reeves, Kennedy primarily focused on the political repercussions of the plan rather than the military considerations; when it failed, he was convinced the plan was a setup to make him look bad. But he took responsibility for the failure, saying, “… We got a big kick in the leg and we deserved it. But maybe we’ll learn something from it.”

In late 1961, the White House formed the “Special Group (Augmented)”, headed by Robert Kennedy and including Edward Lansdale, Secretary Robert McNamara, and others. The group’s objective—to overthrow Castro via espionage, sabotage, and other covert tactics—was never pursued.

Cuban Missile Crisis

On October 14, 1962, CIA U-2 spy planes took photographs of intermediate-range ballistic missile sites being built in Cuba by the Soviets. The photos were shown to Kennedy on October 16; a consensus was reached that the missiles were offensive in nature and thus posed an immediate nuclear threat. Kennedy faced a dilemma: if the U.S. attacked the sites, it might lead to nuclear war with the U.S.S.R., but if the U.S. did nothing, it would be faced with the increased threat from close range nuclear weapons. The U.S. would as well appear to the world as less committed to the defense of the hemisphere. On a personal level, Kennedy needed to show resolve in reaction to Khrushchev, especially after the Vienna summit.

Meeting Nikita Khrushchev in 1961
Meeting Nikita Khrushchev in 1961

More than a third of the members of the National Security Council (NSC) favored an unannounced air assault on the missile sites, but for some of them this conjured up an image of “Pearl Harbor in reverse”. There was as well some reaction from the international community (asked in confidence) that the assault plan was an overreaction in light of U.S. missiles that had been placed in Turkey by Eisenhower. And there could be no assurance that the assault would be 100% effective. In concurrence with a majority vote of the NSC, Kennedy decided on a naval quarantine. On October 22 he dispatched a message to Khrushchev and announced the decision on TV.

The U.S. Navy would stop and inspect all Soviet ships arriving off Cuba, beginning October 24. The Organization of American States gave unanimous support to the removal of the missiles. The president exchanged two sets of letters with Khrushchev, to no avail. United Nations (UN) Secretary General U Thant requested both parties reverse their decisions and enter a cooling off period. Khrushchev said yes, but Kennedy said no. One Soviet-flagged ship was stopped and boarded. On October 28 Khrushchev agreed to dismantle the missile sites subject to UN inspections. The U.S. publicly promised never to invade Cuba and privately agreed to remove its missiles in Turkey, which were by then obsolete and had been supplanted by submarines equipped with UGM-27 Polaris missiles. This crisis brought the world closer to nuclear war than at any point before or since. In the end, “the humanity” of the two men prevailed. The crisis improved the image of American willpower and the president’s credibility. His approval rating increased from 66% to 77% immediately thereafter.

Latin America and Communism

Arguing that “those who make peaceful revolution impossible, will make violent revolution inevitable,” Kennedy sought to contain communism in Latin America by establishing the Alliance for Progress, which sent aid to troubled countries and sought greater human rights standards in the region. He worked closely with Governor of Puerto Rico Luis Muñoz Marín for the development of the Alliance of Progress, and began working towards the autonomy of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

When the president took office the Eisenhower administration, through the CIA, had begun formulating plans for the assassination of Castro in Cuba and Rafael Trujillo in the Dominican Republic. Kennedy privately instructed the CIA that any such planning must include plausible deniability by the U.S. His public position was in opposition. In June 1961 the Dominican Republic’s leader was assassinated; in the days following the event, Undersecretary of State Chester Bowles led a cautious reaction by the nation. Robert Kennedy, who saw an opportunity for the U.S., called Bowles “a gutless bastard” to his face.

Peace Corps

As one of his first presidential acts, Kennedy asked Congress to create the Peace Corps. His brother-in-law, Sargent Shriver, was the first director. Through this program, Americans volunteer to help underdeveloped nations in areas such as education, farming, health care, and construction. The organization grew to 5,000 members by March 1963 and 10,000 the following year. Since 1961, over 200,000 Americans have joined the Peace Corps, serving in 139 countries.

Executive Order 10924
Executive Order 10924

Southeast Asia

When briefing Kennedy, Eisenhower emphasized that the communist threat in Southeast Asia required priority; Eisenhower considered Laos to be “the cork in the bottle” in regards to the regional threat. In March 1961, Kennedy voiced a change in policy from supporting a “free” Laos to a “neutral” Laos, indicating privately that Vietnam, and not Laos, should be deemed America’s tripwire for communism’s spread in the area. In May 1961 he dispatched Lyndon Johnson to meet with South Vietnam’s President Ngo Dinh Diem. Johnson assured Diem more aid in molding a fighting force that could resist the communists. Kennedy announced a change of policy from support to partnership with Diem in defeat of communism in South Vietnam.

Kennedy initially followed Eisenhower’s lead, using limited military action to fight the communist forces led by Ho Chi Minh. Kennedy continued policies that provided political, economic, and military support to the South Vietnamese government. Late in 1961 the Viet Cong began assuming a predominant presence, initially seizing the provincial capital of Phuoc Vinh. Kennedy increased the number of helicopters, military advisors, and undeclared U.S. Special Forces in the area, but he was reluctant to order a full-scale deployment of troops. In late 1961, President Kennedy sent Roger Hilsman, then director of the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, to assess the situation in Vietnam. There Hilsman met Sir Robert Thompson, head of the British Advisory Mission to South Vietnam and the concept of the Strategic Hamlet Program was formed. It was approved by Kennedy and South Vietnam President Ngo Dinh Diem. It was implemented in early 1962 and involved some forced relocation, village internment, and segregation of rural South Vietnamese into new communities where the peasantry would be isolated from Communist insurgents. It was hoped these new communities would provide security for the peasants and strengthen the tie between them and the central government. However, by November 1963 the program waned and officially ended in 1964.

In early 1962, Kennedy formally authorized escalated involvement when he signed the “National Security Action Memorandum – Subversive Insurgency (War of Liberation)”. Secretary of State Dean Rusk voiced strong support for U.S. involvement. “Operation Ranch Hand“, a large-scale aerial defoliation effort, began on the roadsides of South Vietnam.

Kennedy with future Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt in the Oval Office in 1963
Kennedy with future Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt in the Oval Office in 1963

In April 1963, Kennedy assessed the situation in Vietnam: “We don’t have a prayer of staying in Vietnam. Those people hate us. They are going to throw our asses out of there at any point. But I can’t give up that territory to the communists and get the American people to re-elect me”. Kennedy faced a crisis in Vietnam by July; despite increased U.S. support, the South Vietnamese military was only marginally effective against pro-communist Viet Cong forces.

On August 21, just as the new U.S. Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge arrived, Diem and his brother Ngo Dinh Nhu ordered South Vietnam forces, funded and trained by the CIA, to quell Buddhist demonstrations. The crackdowns heightened expectations of a coup d’état to remove Diem with (or perhaps by) his brother, Nhu. Lodge was instructed to try to get Diem and Nhu to step down and leave the country. Diem would not listen to Lodge.Cable 243 (DEPTEL 243), dated August 24, followed, declaring Washington would no longer tolerate Nhu’s actions, and Lodge was ordered to pressure Diem to remove Nhu. If Diem refused, the Americans would explore alternative leadership. Lodge stated that the only workable option was to get the South Vietnamese generals to overthrow Diem and Nhu, as originally planned. At week’s end, Kennedy learned from Lodge that the Diem government might, due to France’s assistance to Nhu, be dealing secretly with the communists—and might ask the Americans to leave; orders were sent to Saigon and throughout Washington to “destroy all coup cables”. At the same time, the first formal anti-Vietnam war sentiment was expressed by U.S. clergy from the Ministers’ Vietnam Committee.

A White House meeting in September was indicative of the very different ongoing appraisals; the President was given updated assessments after personal inspections on the ground by the Department of Defense (General Victor Krulak) and the State Department (Joseph Mendenhall). Krulak said the military fight against the communists was progressing and being won, while Mendenhall stated that the country was civilly being lost to any U.S. influence. Kennedy reacted, saying, “Did you two gentlemen visit the same country?” The president was unaware the two men were at such odds that they had not spoken to each other on the return flight.

In October 1963, the president appointed Defense Secretary McNamara and General Maxwell D. Taylor to a Vietnam mission in another effort to synchronize the information and formulation of policy. The objective of the McNamara Taylor mission “emphasized the importance of getting to the bottom of the differences in reporting from U.S. representatives in Vietnam”. In meetings with McNamara, Taylor, and Lodge, Diem again refused to agree to governing measures insisted upon by the U.S., helping to dispel McNamara’s previous optimism about Diem. Taylor and McNamara were also enlightened by Vietnam’s Vice President, Nguyen Ngoc Tho (choice of many to succeed Diem should a coup occur), who in detailed terms obliterated Taylor’s information that the military was succeeding in the countryside. At Kennedy’s insistence, the mission report contained a recommended schedule for troop withdrawals: 1,000 by year’s end and complete withdrawal in 1965, something the NSC considered a strategic fantasy. The final report declared that the military was making progress, that the increasingly unpopular Diem-led government was not vulnerable to a coup, and that an assassination of Diem or Nhu was a possibility.

In late October, intelligence wires again reported that a coup against the Diem government was afoot. The source, Vietnamese General Duong Van Minh (also known as “Big Minh”), wanted to know the U.S. position. Kennedy instructed Lodge to offer covert assistance to the coup, excluding assassination, and to ensure deniability by the U.S. Later that month, as the coup became imminent, Kennedy ordered all cables routed through him. A policy of “control and cut out” was initiated to insure presidential control of U.S. responses, while cutting him out of the paper trail. On November 1, 1963, South Vietnamese generals, led by “Big Minh”, overthrew the Diem government, arresting and then killing Diem and Nhu. Kennedy was shocked by the deaths. He found out afterwards that Minh had asked the CIA field office to secure safe passage out of the country for Diem and Nhu, but was told 24 hours was needed to get a plane. Minh responded that he could not hold them that long. News of the coup initially led to renewed confidence—both in America and in South Vietnam—that the war might be won. McGeorge Bundy drafted a National Security Action Memo to present to Kennedy upon his return from Dallas. It reiterated the resolve to fight communism in Vietnam, with increasing military and economic aid and expansion of operations into Laos and Cambodia. Before leaving for Dallas, Kennedy told Michael Forrestal that “after the first of the year … [he wanted] an in depth study of every possible option, including how to get out of there … to review this whole thing from the bottom to the top”. When asked what he thought the president meant, Forrestal said, “it was devil’s advocate stuff.”

Historians disagree on whether Vietnam would have escalated had Kennedy survived and been re-elected in 1964. Fueling the debate are statements made by Secretary of Defense McNamara in the film “The Fog of War” that Kennedy was strongly considering pulling out of Vietnam after the 1964 election. The film also contains a tape recording of Lyndon Johnson stating that Kennedy was planning to withdraw, a position that Johnson disagreed with. Kennedy had signed National Security Action Memorandum (NSAM) 263, dated October 11, which ordered the withdrawal of 1,000 military personnel by the end of the year. Such an action would have been a policy reversal, but Kennedy was moving in a less hawkish direction since his acclaimed speech about world peace at American University on June 10, 1963.

When Robert Kennedy was asked in 1964 what his brother would have done if the South Vietnamese had been on the brink of defeat, he replied, “We’d face that when we came to it.” At the time of Kennedy’s death, no final policy decision had been made as to Vietnam. U.S. involvement in the region escalated until Lyndon Johnson, his successor, directly deployed regular U.S. military forces for fighting the Vietnam War. After Kennedy’s assassination, President Johnson passed NSAM 273 on November 26, 1963. It reversed Kennedy’s decision to withdraw 1,000 troops, and reaffirmed the policy of assistance to the South Vietnamese.

American University Speech

Kennedy delivers the commencement speech at American University, June 10, 1963
Kennedy delivers the commencement speech at American University, June 10, 1963

On June 10, 1963, Kennedy delivered the commencement address at American University in Washington, D.C., “to discuss a topic on which too often ignorance abounds and the truth is too rarely perceived—yet it is the most important topic on earth: world peace … I speak of peace because of the new face of war…in an age when a singular nuclear weapon contains ten times the explosive force delivered by all the allied forces in the Second World War … an age when the deadly poisons produced by a nuclear exchange would be carried by wind and air and soil and seed to the far corners of the globe and to generations yet unborn … I speak of peace, therefore, as the necessary rational end of rational men … world peace, like community peace, does not require that each man love his neighbor—it requires only that they live together in mutual tolerance … our problems are man-made—therefore they can be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants.” The president also made two announcements—that the Soviets had expressed a desire to negotiate a nuclear test ban treaty and that the U.S had postponed planned atmospheric tests.

West Berlin Speech

Kennedy delivering his speech in Berlin
Kennedy delivering his speech in Berlin

In 1963, Germany was enduring a time of particular vulnerability due to Soviet aggression to the east, de Gaulle’s French nationalism to the west, and the impending retirement of German Chancellor Adenauer. On June 26 Kennedy gave a public speech in West Berlin reiterating the American commitment to Germany and criticizing communism; he was met with an ecstatic response from a massive audience. Kennedy used the construction of the Berlin Wall as an example of the failures of communism: “Freedom has many difficulties, and democracy is not perfect. But we have never had to put a wall up to keep our people in, to prevent them from leaving us.” The speech is known for its famous phrase Ich bin ein Berliner (“I am a citizen of Berlin”). A million people were on the street for the speech. He remarked to Ted Sorensen afterwards: “We’ll never have another day like this one, as long as we live.”

Israel

In 1960, Kennedy stated: “Israel will endure and flourish. It is the child of hope and the home of the brave. It can neither be broken by adversity nor demoralized by success. It carries the shield of democracy and it honors the sword of freedom”. Subsequently as president, Kennedy initiated the creation of security ties with Israel, and he is credited as the founder of the US-Israeli military alliance (which would be continued under subsequent presidents). Kennedy ended the arms embargo that the Eisenhower and Truman administrations had enforced on Israel. Describing the protection of Israel as a moral and national commitment, he was the first to introduce the concept of a ‘special relationship’ (as he described it to Golda Meir) between the US and Israel.

Israeli Foreign Minister Golda Meir with Kennedy, December 27, 1962
Israeli Foreign Minister Golda Meir with Kennedy, December 27, 1962

Kennedy extended the first informal security guarantees to Israel in 1962 and, beginning in 1963, was the first US president to allow the sale to Israel of advanced US weaponry (the MIM-23 Hawk), as well as to provide diplomatic support for Israeli policies which were opposed by Arab neighbours; such as its water project on the Jordan River. However, as result of this newly created security alliance, Kennedy also encountered tensions with the Israeli government regarding the production of nuclear materials in Dimona, which he believed could instigate a nuclear-arms race in the Middle East. After the existence of a nuclear plant was initially denied by the Israeli government, David Ben-Gurion stated in a speech to the Israeli Knesset on December 21, 1960, that the purpose of the nuclear plant at Beersheba was for “research in problems of arid zones and desert flora and fauna”. When Ben-Gurion met with Kennedy in New York, he claimed that Dimona was being developed to provide nuclear power for desalinization and other peaceful purposes “for the time being”. When Kennedy wrote that he was skeptical, and stated in a May 1963 letter to Ben-Gurion that American support to Israel could be in jeopardy if reliable information on the Israeli nuclear program was not forthcoming, Ben-Gurion repeated previous reassurances that Dimona was being developed for peaceful purposes. The Israeli government resisted American pressure to open its nuclear facilities to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections. In 1962, the US and Israeli governments had agreed to an annual inspection regime. A science attache at the embassy in Tel Aviv concluded that parts of the Dimona facility had been shut down temporarily to mislead American scientists when they visited. According to Seymour Hersh, the Israelis set up false control rooms to show the Americans. Israeli lobbyist Abe Feinberg stated, “It was part of my job to tip them off that Kennedy was insisting on [an inspection].” Hersh contends the inspections were conducted in such a way that it “guaranteed that the whole procedure would be little more than a whitewash, as the President and his senior advisors had to understand: the American inspection team would have to schedule its visits well in advance, and with the full acquiescence of Israel.”. Marc Trachtenberg argued: “Although well aware of what the Israelis were doing, Kennedy chose to take this as satisfactory evidence of Israeli compliance with America’s non-proliferation policy.” The American who led the inspection team stated that the essential goal of the inspections was to find “ways to not reach the point of taking action against Israel’s nuclear weapons program”.

Rodger Davies, the director of the State Department’s Office of Near Eastern Affairs, concluded in March 1965 that Israel was developing nuclear weapons. He reported that Israel’s target date for achieving nuclear capability was 1968–69. On May 1, 1968, Undersecretary of State Nicholas Katzenbach told President Johnson that Dimona was producing enough plutonium to produce two bombs a year. The State Department argued that if Israel wanted arms, it should accept international supervision of its nuclear program. Dimona was never placed under IAEA safeguards. Attempts to write Israeli adherence to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) into contracts for the supply of U.S. weapons continued throughout 1968.

Iraq

In 1963, the Kennedy administration backed the coup against the government of Iraq headed by Abd al-Karim Qasim, who five years earlier had deposed the Western-allied Iraqi monarchy. On February 8, 1963, Kennedy received a memo stating: “We will make informal friendly noises as soon as we can find out whom to talk with, and ought to recognize as soon as we’re sure these guys are firmly in the saddle. CIA had excellent reports on the plotting, but I doubt either they or UK should claim much credit for it.” The CIA had planned to remove Qasim in the past, but those efforts did not come to fruition. The new government, led by Abdul Salam Arif and dominated by the Ba’ath Party (along with a coalition of Nasserists and Iraqi nationalists), allegedly used lists—provided by the CIA—of suspected communists and other leftists to systematically murder unknown numbers of Iraq’s educated elite. The U.S. continued to back Arif after he purged the Ba’ath Party from the government. Former CIA officer James Chritchfield disputed the notion that the CIA offered “active support” to the coup plotters, arguing that while “well-informed” on the first coup, it was “surprised” by the power struggles that followed.

Ireland

John F. Kennedy visiting the John Barry Memorial at Crescent Quay in Wexford, Ireland.
John F. Kennedy visiting the John Barry Memorial at Crescent Quay in Wexford, Ireland.

During his four-day visit to his ancestral home of Ireland in June 1963, Kennedy accepted a grant of armorial bearings from the Chief Herald of Ireland and received honorary degrees from the National University of Ireland and Trinity College, Dublin. He visited the cottage at Dunganstown, near New Ross, County Wexford where his ancestors had lived before emigrating to America. He also became the first foreign leader to address the Houses of the Oireachtas (the Irish parliament). On December 22, 2006, the Irish Department of Justice released declassified police documents indicating that security was heightened as Kennedy was the subject of three death threats during this visit.

President Kennedy in motorcade in Patrick Street, Cork, in Ireland on June 28, 1963
President Kennedy in motorcade in Patrick Street, Cork, in Ireland on June 28, 1963

Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

Troubled by the long-term dangers of radioactive contamination and nuclear weapons proliferation, Kennedy and Khrushchev agreed to negotiate a nuclear test ban treaty, originally conceived in Adlai Stevenson‘s 1956 presidential campaign. In their Vienna summit meeting in June 1961, Khrushchev and Kennedy reached an informal understanding against nuclear testing, but the Soviet Union began testing nuclear weapons that September. The United States responded by conducting tests five days later. Shortly thereafter, new U.S. satellites began delivering images which made it clear that the Soviets were substantially behind the U.S. in the arms race. Nevertheless, the greater nuclear strength of the U.S. was of little value as long as the U.S.S.R. perceived themselves to be at parity.

In July 1963, Kennedy sent Averell Harriman to Moscow to negotiate a treaty with the Soviets. The introductory sessions included Khrushchev, who later delegated Soviet representation to Andrei Gromyko. It quickly became clear that a comprehensive test ban would not be implemented, due largely to the reluctance of the Soviets to allow inspections that would verify compliance. Ultimately, the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union were the initial signatories to a limited treaty, which prohibited atomic testing on the ground, in the atmosphere, or underwater, but not underground; the U.S. Senate ratified this and Kennedy signed it into law in October 1963. France was quick to declare that it was free to continue developing and testing its nuclear defenses.